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Wrecks, deaths decline during state traffic blitz

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Accidents, injuries and deaths declined in Alabama during the first three days of a statewide crackdown aimed at slowing motorists and reducing the state's highway death rate.

The state Department of Public Safety reported that from Monday through Wednesday, state troopers worked 229 wrecks with 93 injuries and two deaths. During the same Monday through Wednesday period last year, troopers responded to 284 accidents with 119 injuries and eight deaths.

"That's a good indication 'Take Back Our Highways' is having an impact," department spokeswoman Dorris Teague said Thursday.

On Wednesday, troopers issued 4,967 tickets, including 2,389 for speeding and 999 for seat belt or child safety seat violations. On the comparable Wednesday a year ago, Aug. 16, they issued 1,118 tickets.

The Department of Public Safety launched the five-day "Take Back Our Highways" crackdown and put an extra 200 troopers on the roads because traffic deaths nationwide declined 2 percent in 2006, but Alabama's death rate went up 5 percent to the highest level since 1973.

When troopers pull over traffic offenders during the crackdown, they sometimes make arrests for non-traffic offenses, such as possession of drugs. Teague said troopers made 95 "non-traffic" arrests Wednesday.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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