Holiday Traffic Deaths Reach 489
CHICAGO (AP) _ More than 490 people were reported killed in traffic accidents during the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, exceeding National Safety Council projections.
At least 494 people died on the nation’s roadways between 6 p.m. Wednesday and midnight Sunday local time, considered the peak holiday travel period. California reported the highest state toll with 61 deaths, followed by Florida with 34.
The safety council had said 450 travelers might die during the long Thanksgiving holiday.
Council statisticians did not provide an estimate of how many deaths might be expected over a four-day non-holiday period at this time of the year, saying that methods for gathering and analyzing such data are not comparable.
The worst Thanksgiving weekend was in 1968 when 764 people died. Since the 55 mph limit was imposed in 1974, the worst year was 1978 when 508 deaths were reported.
The speed limit was increased to 65 mph this year on many interstate highways in rural areas.