Independence Day means maximum highway enforcement

The Fourth of July holiday "Maximum Enforcement Period" will put a lot more law enforcement officers on California streets, highways and freeways. 

Officers have already increased patrols in some cities to prevent tragedies caused by dangerous or impaired driving. 

Tom Vacar rode along with Officer Brandon Correia on his route Wednesday. 

The 42-year-old husband and father of two is a 10-year veteran with CHP. 

He's also a former Marine. 

Correia is working the five-day enforcement period along with an army of state and local police looking for two things in particular. 

"Speed and impaired drivers," said Correia. 

Beyond pure speed, often an indicator of impairment, what else tips officers off, that gives them legal probable cause to pull someone over? 

"Wear your seat belt. Don't be distracted. Don't be impaired," said Correia. 

Add handheld tenting or phoning, slaloming through traffic, unsafe lane changes, not using a turn signal, tailgating, aggressive driving, and road rage.
CHP's maximum enforcement is underway, everywhere they patrol in California. 

"We have a little program called the I-80 Challenge. We’re teaming up with the Nevada Highway Patrol all the way through the border of Nevada," said Correia. 

That means the many people driving the 600-mile distance from the Pacific to Utah face maximum enforcement protocols.
If stopped, except for mandatory arrest offenses, driver attitude is critical to the outcome. 

That's because officers have a lot of discretion. 

One driver Correia pulled over was traveling close to 90 mph. 
 "That very specific gentleman I pulled over. He has a very good driving record," Correia said. "He was speeding. Yes, I stopped him for speeding. I talked to him. I realized that this was a good opportunity to give him a break."

With the driver's good attitude, he got a "fix-it" ticket, but not a speeding violation worth hundreds of dollars in fines. 

"We don't always have to hammer everybody. But, it's there if I need to," said Correia.

Correia's pet peeve are those who violate the safety laws with children on board. 

He said he tells drivers, "'I know you love your son or daughter. I like to bring that up and help them realize the gravity of the situation even though it's just a speeding ticket and someone is upset and they're pissed at me for stopping them." 

His bottom line, "The choices you make, matter. So make the right choices."