NEWS

Drivers on cells linked to crashes

Distracted drivers talking on their cell phones were responsible for almost half of the deaths on Greek roads between August 11 and 15, traffic police said yesterday. During the five-day period, 10 of the 21 people who died in car crashes around Greece lost their lives because drivers paid more attention to their mobile phone conversations than the road. Traffic police said they intended to conduct stricter checks for this offense. One person was killed on the Athens-Thessaloniki national road and eight people died on other highways. The rest of the fatal crashes happened on country roads or in cities and towns, officers said, adding that 31 people were seriously injured. However, officers said that the number of accidents for this period was about the same as it was this time last year, even though 244,700 more cars left Athens and Thessaloniki this year than in 2005. In total, 861,900 cars were driven out of the cities in the days before Tuesday’s public holiday. About half of these vehicles have returned.