Holiday Traffic Deaths Increase 47 Percent

Lack of sleep, no seatbelts factors in fatal crashes.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC Bay Area
    Aerial shot of fatal crash on U.S. Highway 101 in Palo Alto involving a San Bruno family on Nov. 23, 2012

    Fatal traffic accidents on California roadways are up 47 percent this holiday season, according to reports.

    The California Highway Patrol reported 31 fatalities across the state from Wedneday evening to Sunday morning, according to the Bay Area News Group. There were 21 deaths last year in that time frame, the Contra Costa Times reported.

    Last year, two people died in the Bay Area over Thanksgiving weekend. This year: six.

    Authorities believe that rather than drinking or drugs, it's lack of sleep and new driving routines as well as not wearing a seatbelt that's leading to the spoike in deaths, the newspaper reported. Two of the San Bruno sisters who died after a "marathon night of Black Friday shopping in Gilroy" on Highway 101 in Palo Alto were not wearing seatbelts when the SUV driven by their father -- who may have fallen asleep at the wheel -- crashed and flipped, the newspaper reported.

    Another man died when his vehicle entered the San Tomas Expressway in San Jose going against the flow of traffic.

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