Holiday Traffic Toll Passes 200 Mark

The nation's traffic death toll for the Fourth of July weekend passed 200 Friday, midway through the four-day holiday.

The count began at 6 p.m. Wednesday and continues until midnight Sunday, local time.

The toll at 10 p.m. EDT Friday was 227.

The National Safety Council estimates between 580 and 680 people could be killed in traffic accidents during the weekend.

During the last four-day Fourth of July holiday period--in 1978--712 people died and 31,000 people were injured in traffic accidents, the council said.

This year's estimate is lower than the 1978 toll because of increased awareness of seat-belt use and campaigns against drunken driving, said council spokeswoman Barbara Carraro.

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