More than 400 people were killed in traffic accidents nationwide during the 3 day Labor Day holiday, but the death count was well below the 580 fatalities predicted by the National Safety Council.
A United Press International count showed 416 people were killed in traffic accidents nationwide from 6 p.m. local time Friday to midnight Monday. Last year, 531 people died in traffic accidents during the weekend and 21,300 were seriously injured.
Texas reported 50 deaths, followed by California with 48, Florida with 25, Illinois with 22, Ohio with 19, Alabama and New York with 16, Missouri, Tennessee and Lousiana each with 15, Wisconsin with 14, and Indiana, Michigan and North Carolina with 13 each.
National Safety Council president Vincent L. Tofnay said he expected the count to grow to between 450 and 475 when late casualties are counted, but said he was gratified the death toll was below expectations.
'We're hoping the reason people did less killing of themselves is that they are starting to realize Labor Day is a deadly weekend and have begun to heed our advice about buckling up and driving carefully,' Tofnay said.
Tofnay said the council had just completed a national promotion called 'Make it Click,' in which more than 500,000 people pledged to use safety belts every time they got in a car.
Six people were killed in a blazing head-on collision between two trucks Monday on a winding stretch of Idaho state highway, state police said.
An Idaho State Police spokesman said a pickup truck carrying five people collided with a large van-style truck on a highway linking Boise with northern Idaho. The crash sparked a fiery explosion that touched off a small range fire, officers said.
A family of six was killed when their car hurtled off a concrete ramp Sunday night into the dark waters of Lake Sardis in Mississippi.
The accident was not discovered until Monday morning when a fisherman found one of the bodies. The submerged car and five other bodies -- none of them inside the car -- were recovered later. All six reportedly drowned.
A speeding car ran a stop sign in north Louisiana Sunday, knocking a motor home into a pickup truck, killing one person.
Inone of the worst traffic accidents of the weekend, five people died about seven miles south of Sturgeon Bay, Wis., when two cars collided head-on early Saturday.
Two New York City residents were killed and five others were injured Monday in a one-car crash on the New York Thruway near Catskill. State police said the driver apparently fell asleep at the wheel.
Michael Shea and Karen Sugarman, both 16, died in a one-car crash in their hometown of Norwood, Mass., early Sunday. Police said Shea apparently was speeding when the car hit a stone wall and an oak tree on Route 1A. A fake license plate on the car said: 'Drive like hell, you'll get there.'
In Chicago Antonio Colon, 31, was killed early Monday when his motorcycle slammed into a fire truck that was headed to the scene of a fire. Colon was the third Illinois traffic death of the weekend involving a motorcycle.
At least eleven persons were killed in four separate plane crashes.
Five poeple were killed in the fiery crash of a small plane Monday near the Rattlesnake Range in central Wyoming. The only discernible remains were an adult's hand, a child's hand and smaller pieces of human flesh.
Four people were killed Friday in Kansas City, Kan. when the plane they were riding in apparently stalled and crashed while they were en route to their holiday vacation.