On Saturday, the California Highway Patrol tweeted, “You can’t celebrate your freedom in a jail cell.”
The message was an “I told you so” for those who had already been arrested on the 4th of July, which landed on a Friday, and a warning for those who might continue the Independence Day celebrations throughout the weekend.
The message proved to be true for more people this year than last.
The CHP made 747 DUI arrests statewide over the 4th of July holiday weekend. This number is up 32 percent during the same period last year. More than 150 of the arrests made by the CHP were in Los Angeles County.
Unfortunately, the increase in California DUIs also meant an increase in alcohol related traffic fatalities. Fifteen people were killed in California in the first 30 hours of the holiday weekend. During the same period last year, only nine people lost their lives as the result of drunk driving. About 40 percent of those who were killed in alcohol involved accidents were not wearing seatbelts.
This year, three of the deaths took place in Los Angeles County compared to one death last year.