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CHP step up road patrols for holiday weekend

May 31, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's no holiday for the CHP. The Memorial Day weekend has officers stepping up efforts to keep the roads safe, and so far it appears to be paying off.Eyewitness News reporter John North rode along with one officer during this maximum enforcement period and saw CHP hard at work firsthand.

Monday is the last day in a CHP maximum enforcement period where they concentrate on speed, DUIs and seat belt use.

CHP Officer Leland Tang stopped a Mercedes because the driver had just speeded up on a ramp on the median. Tang wasn't taking any chances. The car had no plates and had a fake sticker designating the model.

"You don't have any weapons, nothing that's going to explode on me, right?" Tang asked the driver.

A temporary registration checked out. Car owner John Armand said he didn't believe at first he did anything wrong.

"If the police officer tells me it's wrong, I'm not going to do it a second time," said Armand.

In a second traffic stop, Tang was tracking a speeding white car, driven by 19-year-old Bernard Cadelina. He didn't see the CHP car until it lit him up.

"I was going about 75," Cadelina admitted.

The speed limit is 65 mph on the 101 Freeway. Cadelina spoke with Eyewitness News in exchange for a warning instead of a citation.

During maximum enforcement periods, 80 percent of the CHP patrols are working, trying to keep down traffic fatalities and injuries.

The CHP is also looking for people using their hands to hold cellular phones.

"We actually in L.A. County wrote more citations for cell phone violations than anywhere else in the state," described Tang.

Tressa Flicker was holding a cellular phone while driving, but she quickly put it down when she saw police approaching. It was too late. She admits that she does it all the time.

"It's easy. The phone rings and you answer it. I just had a baby, and that was my mom I was just talking on the phone with," said Flicker.

She also had the baby seat installed unsafely. After warning her about the phone, Tang correctly installed the seat for her 3-month-old son.

In 36 hours, there were eight people killed in Los Angeles last year in Los Angeles County. This year in the same period, there's been one fatality. People may be paying more attention.

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