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Published: Tuesday, 8/29/2006

Michigan one of six states targeted in Labor Day DUI crackdown

ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHICAGO Federal officials are teaming up with more than 3,000 law enforcement agencies in Illinois, Michigan and four other states to crack down on drunken driving this Labor Day weekend.

The agencies will focus on sobriety checkpoints and increased patrols on roadways that have seen large numbers of alcohol-related crashes, said Donald McNamara, regional administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The message we want out is, if you drive drunk you are going to be arrested, McNamara said.

The effort runs Friday through Monday.

Illinois saw a record-low 580 alcohol-related traffic fatalities last year, marking a 5.4 percent drop from 2004, according to Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Mike Claffey. Even so, the state has the second-highest percentage of alcohol-related crashes in the six-state area.

Last year, 43 percent of all fatal crashes in Illinois involved alcohol, compared with 45 percent in Wisconsin, 38 percent in Ohio, 37 percent in Michigan, 36 percent in Minnesota and 34 percent in Indiana, federal records show.

The number of fatal crashes involving alcohol historically has been highest on Labor Day weekend, followed by Fourth of July weekend, McNamara said.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.



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