SANTA FE, New Mexico — Traffic deaths in New Mexico have increased about 20 percent so far this year, the state Department of Transportation reported.
From January through July, 204 people have died in traffic accidents. That's up from 170 fatalities during the first seven months of last year, but down from 224 during the same period of 2012.
Part of the increase this year stemmed from severe accidents in which multiple people died, Department spokesman Melissa Dosher said Monday.
Seven people died in a crash on Interstate 10 in southwestern New Mexico during a dust storm in May. The accident involved at least three tractor-trailers and three passenger cars.
The department said law enforcement agencies have launched a Labor Day holiday weekend crackdown that will target drunken drivers.
State, local and tribal police plan checkpoints and saturation patrols through Sept. 1.
Of this year's traffic deaths, 86 were in accidents involving alcohol. That compares with 82 fatalities in alcohol-involved crashes during the first seven months of 2013, and 102 in 2012.
New Mexico traffic fatalities report: http://bit.ly/1vSE8Jg