Highway deaths jump on Pa. highways during Thanksgiving weekend

Written by David Payne/Radio Pennsylvania | Dec 2, 2015 3:58 AM

(Harrisburg) -- State Police investigated a high number of fatal accidents during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period.

The 15 highway deaths were up sharply compared to only seven last year.

The official travel period lasted from late Wednesday through midnight Sunday.

State Police spokesman Trooper Adam Reed says he's not sure what's behind the higher total.

"It's hard to say, because it comes from all over the state," he says. "So, we're looking at all the interstates and highways across Pennsylvania. It's hard to pinpoint, as if it would come from one particular region."

Seven of the 15 fatal accidents were alcohol-related.

Reed says troopers will look at a number of factors when breaking down the numbers.

"Did our crashes increase? Did they decrease? Did the number of citations increase compared to last year?" he says. "We're going to take a look at what works and some of the trends out there. For example if we see a large number of people are cited for not wearing their seatbelts, we're going to work with PennDOT and other agencies to increase public awareness about seatbelt safety."

The number of overall crashes were down.

Reed says troopers are already looking ahead to the next major holidays, Christmas and New Year's, both of which include weekend travel.

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