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First responders remind travelers not to drink and drive this Memorial Day weekend

"We want people to enjoy the weekend but we want them to do it safely."

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, first responders are reminding people not to drink and drive both on California roads and waterways.

The California Highway Patrol will be keeping an eye out for drunk and distracted drivers. Their maximum enforcement period begins May 26 at 6:01 p.m. and lasts until May 29 at 11:59 p.m.

"We're going to have additional units on the road throughout the entire weekend. They're just going to be out there assisting disabled motorists, but also looking for those violations that can curb fatalities and to get those DUI drivers off the road," said Mark Leavitt, spokesperson for CHP South Sacramento.

CHP said their goal is to reduce factors that can be deadly for motorists including driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding and distracted driving. Leavitt said they will also be looking for people who are not wearing a seatbelt.

CHP said 45 people died on California highways last year, which is a 30% increase from 2021. They also said 900 drivers were arrested for DUI in 2022.

"We want people to enjoy the weekend but we want them to do it safely," said Leavitt.

The hope for a safe weekend continues on California's waterways as well. The fire district has units ready to respond when someone needs help.

The agency is reminding people that alcohol and water sports don't mix.

"You can have alcohol on a boat per say, but the driver can't be drinking and they're susceptible to the same laws as someone who is driving on the road. And of course, we're not encouraging individuals to be out on the American River and drinking because the two together just is not a good combination," said Mark Nunez, a captain with Sacramento Metropolitan Fire.

During the holiday weekend, Sacramento County Regional Parks has a ban on alcohol along parts of the American River Parkway.

"There will be certain locations throughout the American River where you'll see park rangers checking coolers to see if there's alcohol, and they're going to be confiscating that," said Nunez.

Also, remember that river levels will be higher this season than what we would normally see because of all the snow the region got this year. The flow of the river will be faster, and the temperature of the water will be quite cold, which can lead to hypothermia. 

Even if you are a good swimmer, it can still be dangerous on the river. Most importantly, firefighters want to remind people to wear a life jacket.


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