Athenians head back in swarms

An estimated 800,000 of the 1 million cars that left Athens for the Easter holidays had returned by yesterday, traffic police said, while traffic jams clogged highways leading to the capital. Since the large outpouring of city-dwellers to the countryside started on Saturday, April 3, a total of 48 people were killed in 384 accidents all over the country. Although this figure was slightly higher than last Easter’s 43 deaths, the overall number of accidents was lower than last year’s 407. Traffic police said nearly all the fatal accidents occurred on secondary or country roads, with none at all on the Athens-to-Patras highway and five on the Athens-to-Thessaloniki road. This was attributed to the better quality of the main roads. Police said most of the fatal accidents were due to speeding on country roads. In Athens, police conducted 9,213 breathalyzer tests last week, and caught 116 motorists over the legal blood-alcohol limit. Meanwhile, Piraeus port authorities said a total of 183,871 passengers boarded ferries for the islands last week from the harbor.

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