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Holiday traffic deaths up 64% from last year

January 2, 2013 |  3:40 pm

Photo: Cars drive through Hollywood on Saturday. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

The number of people who were killed statewide in traffic accidents over the holiday weekend was up 64% from 25 to 41 fatalities, according to figures released Wednesday by the California Highway Patrol.

Arrests for driving under the influence also increased from 1,270 to 1,405 this year, a rise of 11%. About half of the people killed in the CHP’s jurisdiction, which includes freeways and highways, were not wearing seatbelts, said Fran Clader, a CHP spokeswoman.

This year’s report contained an additional 24-hour reporting period compared to last year.

“It only takes a couple seconds to put on a seatbelt,” she said. “That one act can save your life.”

For the first time since 2005, the California Highway Patrol’s Southern Division, which includes unincorporated Los Angeles County and several contract cities, saw no traffic fatalities over the New Year’s weekend.

Three people were killed in the city of Los Angeles.

“Hopefully, that shows that the message is getting across to be responsible while you’re having fun,” said Officer Ming Hsu with the CHP’s Southern Division, which includes portions of East L.A., Rosemead and La Crescenta.

The report tracked arrests and fatalities from Friday at 6:01 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.


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-- Nicole Santa Cruz

Photo: Cars drive through Hollywood on Saturday. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times