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Memorial Day weekend accidents on the decline

CONNECTICUT —  The Connecticut State Police participated in two enforcement campaigns over the Memorial Day weekend to reduce and eliminate traffic accidents on state roads. Looking for drivers impaired by alcohol, not wearing their seat belts and speeding, troopers across Connecticut issued more than 2,600 tickets between Friday and Monday and responded to over 250 accidents, two of which resulted in fatalities.

According to a press release issued by the Department of Public Safety on Friday, May 22, the Connecticut State Police participated in the National C.A.R.E (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) program during the holiday weekend. The program focuses on enforcement of DUI and seat belt laws.

“The goal of this operation is to join the state police across the country to enhance safety in all states,” according to the release issued by Lt. J. Paul Vance.

Connecticut state troopers also kicked off their annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign this past weekend, with a goal to “rid the roads of aggressive and impaired drivers.” Trooper One, the state police helicopter, was utilized during this effort throughout the weekend, as were motorized patrols to monitor traffic.

“In the past we have seen several tragedies involving youths and motor vehicles. These accidents remind us to pause and reflect on how important good driving skills and the actions of drivers can be,” said Department of Public Safety Commissioner John A. Danaher III.

In the Northwest Corner, Troop B in North Canaan increased its efforts, dispatching “roving patrols” along state roadways, including routes 44, 318, 272, 202 and 183, from North Canaan to New Hartford to Hartland throughout the weekend.

Compared to past years, the 2009 Memorial Day weekend resulted in fewer traffic stops across Connecticut, according to the Department of Public Safety. The state recognized a drop in fatalities with the fewest motor vehicle accident-related deaths during the holiday weekend since 2004. Speeding tickets were almost half of the number reported in 2004 as well, with 1,056 — down from 2,085. DWI arrests were also down 26 percent from 2004, with 64 arrests reported statewide this year.

Locally, Winchester police officers monitored the increased traffic through the town of Winsted. They responded to 10 accidents and made 36 motor vehicle stops over the holiday weekend. No DUI arrests were made, reported Chief Nicholas Guerriero, who added that the weekend saw nothing out of the ordinary, describing all calls responded to as “routine.”

“As the summer season continues, motorists are reminded if they see a suspected drunk driver, call 911 as this is a true emergency. Help the state police continue to keep the highways and roadways of Connecticut safe,” said Vance.

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