SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/BCN) — Initial reports from the California Highway Patrol indicate that the number of drunken drivers arrested at the start of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is down from the same period last year.

Officers from the Bay Area’s 12 CHP commands have arrested 45 drunken drivers, compared with 47 last year, for the period between 6 p.m. Wednesday and 6 a.m. Thursday.

The CHP in is out in full force this holiday weekend as part of a statewide effort to sweep drunken drivers from the roads, and across the state DUI arrests were on the rise, with 289 drivers arrested compared to 271 arrests made in 2009.

No fatalities have been reported by local CHP jurisdictions thus far — the same as last year — but the CHP has stressed that the released numbers are provisional statistics, meaning that some cities are not reporting arrests and fatalities until Monday afternoon.

Statewide, four people have died in DUI-related crashes this year. Two people died in traffic accidents on CHP-patrolled roadways, and two others were killed in city-policed jurisdictions, according to the CHP.

There was no change in fatalities on CHP-patrolled roadways for the first 12 hours of the holiday weekend. In city-policed jurisdictions, three people were killed during that period last year.

The CHP plans to continue its beefed up vigilance through midnight Sunday.

(© CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)


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