Car crush but deaths down

The largest Easter exodus of the past decade – the result of a record number of Athenians taking advantage of an extended holiday and the good weather to leave the capital – has not been matched by a corresponding increase in road accidents and fatalities, apparently due to the increased presence of traffic police on national roads. A total of 800,000 cars left Athens between the Saturday before Easter and Easter Sunday – an increase of 15 percent from last year, police said. However, more intensive police patrols have yielded results despite higher traffic levels, with police figures showing that fatalities – of which 59 had been recorded yesterday since the Saturday before Easter – are down 13 percent from last year, and serious casualties – of which 83 were recorded – have fallen 11.5 percent. Overall, about 600 people were injured. Traffic police are today bracing themselves for droves of Athenians returning from their holidays after 250,000 cars crawled into the capital yesterday in huge traffic jams, including a record 15-kilometer-long queue at the port of Antirio.