SACRAMENTO (CBSLA) — The California Highway Patrol will be out in full force Thanksgiving weekend, traditionally one of the busiest travel times in America — and also one of the deadliest.

A spokesperson for the agency said all available officers will be on patrol during a Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) to educate motorists, enforce traffic safety laws throughout the state and ensure everyone has a safe holiday.

The MEP begins at 6:01 p.m. on Wednesday, November 22, and continues through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 26.

Research shows that wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest things people can do to stay safe when traveling in a vehicle, according to a CHP spokesperson. According to the agency’s 2016 Thanksgiving MEP data, among the 27 people killed in collisions within CHP jurisdiction, 14 were not wearing one.

“Whether you are driving across the street or across the country for your Thanksgiving gathering, it is imperative to wear your seat belt,” CHP Acting Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “Wearing a seat belt is essential every day of the year, but we do not want to have festivities ruined as a result of people not buckling up for their trip.”

The CHP is also partnering with seven other state law enforcement agencies across the nation for the Thanksgiving weekend for the “Interstate 40 Challenge.”

The annual campaign focuses on the 2,500-mile stretch of interstate that runs from North Carolina through Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, ending in Barstow, Calif.

The CHP will be educating and enforcing traffic safety laws during this challenge. During past challenges, California has not seen a single fatality on I-40.

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