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NATIONAL BRIEFING / WASHINGTON, D.C.

TIMES WIRE REPORTS

U.S. highway deaths in 2008 fell to their lowest level since John F. Kennedy was president as the recession and $4-per-gallon gas prompted people to drive less. Experts also cited record seat belt use, tighter enforcement of drunken driving laws and the work of advocacy groups that encourage safer driving habits.

Preliminary figures being released by the government today show that 37,313 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes last year. That’s 9.1% lower than the year before, when 41,059 died, and the fewest since 1961, when there were 36,285 deaths.


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