Deadly Roads

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The traffic deaths of four people in separate crashes Monday is a calamity that could happen again as the summer travel season peaks and high gas prices force reduced road patrols.

That was the warning of Nebraska highway safety office director Fred Zwonechek.

Triple-A and other auto clubs have reported that travel over the Memorial Day weekend and into the summer is expected to be high, despite more than $2/gallon gasoline prices.

Conversely, high gas prices recently led the Nebraska State Patrol to impose a mandatory 10-percent reduction in trooper mileage across the state.

Zwonechek says he is hearing plans by police and sheriff's offices to do the same thing.

That, he says, could mean motorists will have to rely on their own sense of self-preservation, and not the sight of a patrol car, to drive responsibly.