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Take Back Highways campaign a success

Last week an average of 510 Alabama state troopers were on patrol of 340,539 miles of Alabama roadways as part of the Alabama Department of Public Safety&8217;s &8220;Take Back Our Highways&8221; safety initiative.

Figures show rural traffic fatalities dropped 69 percent and troopers issued 340 percent more traffic citations than during the same period in 2006.

According to Reese, the department is considering doing a concentrated effort like the Take Back our Highways program more frequently.

Nationally, the traffic-related fatality rate has decreased in the last several years, while in Alabama the rate has increased, he said.

During the week, troopers targeted primary violations and driving behavior that cause crashes and contribute to crash severity, which include speeding, failure to yield the right of way, following too closely, driver inattention, impaired driving and lack of safety restraints.

There were no numbers broken down by county, but numbers from the state of Alabama were released.

Last week there were a total of 411 rural crashes across the state. The same week in 2006 there were 453 rural crashes. From Aug. 13-17 there were 161 injuries reported and the same week in 2006 there were 191 injuries reported. The number of fatalities was down to four, from 13 last year.

During the &8220;Take back Our Highways&8221; campaign, state troopers made 17,991 hazardous arrests, which include violations such as driving under the influence, speeding, following too closely, improper lane change and seat belt child restraint violations.

During the weeklong campaign there were 8,135 non-hazardous arrests, which includes violations such as equipment violations, expired tags, no proof of insurance and other non-moving violations.