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Police beef up patrols for Fourth of July holiday

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CINCINNATI - Law enforcement will be out in full force this Fourth of July and this year they've got more on their plates to deal with.

Ohio raised its speed limit to 70 MPH in rural areas in time for Independence Day weekend. 

The speed increase, which took effect July 1, allows drivers to go 5 MPH faster on about 570 of the state's highways.

Ohio's Department of Transportation is warning motorists to be on the lookout for impaired drivers as many are celebrating the Fourth of July holiday.

The department says more than 260 drivers were arrested for drug and alcohol-related charges on July 4 last year. Impaired driving also contributed to 87 crashes statewide.

The agency is urging drivers to leave enough room between vehicles, stay alert and watch for animals on the side of the road.

Work on construction projects may be suspended over the holiday weekend, but drivers still might encounter many permanent work zone restrictions.

Their patrol blitz started July 3 at 12:00 a.m. and will run through the night on July 4.

9 On Your Side reporter Mario Ramirez contributed to this report.

Copyright Copyright AP Modified, Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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