Utah drivers beat the odds during the 1988 Christmas Holiday, getting through the long weekend without a single reported highway traffic fatality.
"I think it's very remarkable and drivers have to be commended for it," Utah Safety Council spokesman Robert Parenti said Tuesday.The council, based on historical trends, had predicted five people would die during the back-to-back Christmas and New Year's holiday weekends, with two or three of those fatal crashes expected last weekend.
In addition to heightened danger, because of seasonal parties and a traditional increase in drinking and driving, holiday travelers have to cope with adverse weather conditions.
And Christmas 1988 lived up to the bad-weather billing, with a storm that dumped up to 2 feet of snow in some northern Utah valleys, and heavier amounts in the mountains.
This Christmas weekend was only the second in five years during which no motorists died on Utah highways, he said. One person was killed Christmas 1987, none in 1986, six in 1985, and three in 1984.
But the New Year's weekend, according to statistics, is even more deadly than Christmas. Three people died in Utah traffic accidents during each of the last two New Year's holidays, five in 1986 and one in 1985.