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1944 CHP vehicle inspection stop

1944 CHP vehicle inspection stop

Sept. 9, 1944: California Highway Patrol officers check cars funneled into a “stationary” traffic block on Western Avenue south of Sunset Boulevard.

The Southern California wide law enforcement crackdown was explained in the Sept. 11, 1944, Los Angeles Times:

In an effort to halt the toll of death and injury in auto accidents, united law enforcement agencies gave citations to 4,545 motorists for motor vehicle law violations in a swift five-hour campaign through 11 Southern California counties which ended early yesterday.

Traffic and safety officials said it was the most extensive traffic check ever attempted in the United States.

In Los Angeles city itself, 1,847 citations were handed out. More than 15,000 vehicles and occupants were inspected.

Almost every type of law enforcement agency took part in the drive. More than 600 officers, including California Highway Patrol, civil police, military police, sheriff’s deputies, police auxiliaries and Navy’s shore patrol operated under the chairmanship of a traffic checks committee headed by Ralph W. Robinson, manager, Greater Los Angeles Safety Council.

Spreading their “safety nets” and road blockades at 9 p.m. Saturday, officers began halting autos at stationary inspection points on strategic streets, while at the same time roving squadrons of civil police blanketed prearranged areas. The drive enveloped both military and navel personnel as well as civilians.

Officers, funneling traffic into single lanes at the stationary points, checked autos and motorists for everything from proper windshields wipers to the smell of liquor on the breath. If inspectors found automotive faults they waved the cars to the side of the road until imperfections in such things as lighting, brakes, horns and tail-light reflectors could properly be ticketed.

Netted in the traffic drive were:

757 motorists operating cars without driver’s licenses.

1,300 cited for driving with improper lighting.

25 booked as drunk drivers.

15 arrested as “plain drunks” riding with sober drivers.

300 drivers had no proper evidence of car registration.

Among servicemen cited were an Army lieutenant and a sergeant arrested in Pasadena as being AWOL from their posts. Another Army officer was arrested on a charge of drunk driving. Many were snagged for failing to have proper liberty and leave passes…

This photo by former staff photographer Al Humphreys was published in the Sept. 11, 1944 Los Angeles Times.

I also found this similar 1940 image below in the Los Angeles Times archive.

June 9, 1940: Police check motorists during early morning traffic check point at unknown location. This photo was published in the June 10, 1940, Los Angeles Times. Credit: Los Angeles Times.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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