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Traffic accidents causing more deaths
By Guan Xiaofeng (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-09-15 01:43

Traffic accidents killed some 68,000 people and injured 302,000 across China in the first eight months of this year, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Public Security.

A total of 340,000 traffic accidents happened from January to August, a year-on-year rise of 24 per cent, with the number of fatalities increasing 2.7 per cent during the same period.

Traffic accidents caused economic losses of 1.68 billion yuan (US$203 million) by the end of August, a 34 per cent fall compared with the same period last year.

The traffic safety situation in August was especially serious, according to statistics.

Around 43,000 accidents occurred in August, causing 9,601 deaths and 45,860 injuries and a loss of 18 million yuan (US$2.17 million).

Violations of traffic laws are largely to blame for the accidents, with speeding, drunk driving, illegal overtaking and reckless driving being the major causes, said a traffic official from the ministry.

In August alone, speeding caused 48 major accidents which each killed more than three people, a total of 176 deaths and 172 injuries.

Vehicles, especially trucks, are blamed for most of the accidents, accounting for 94 per cent of traffic accidents.

In August, trucks caused 87 major accidents in which 340 people were killed, which took up 40 per cent of the total death toll.

In one case on June 16, 21 of 26 passengers on a bus were killed in an accident in Xinyu, a city of Southeast China's Jiangxi Province.

The bus was only designed to accommodate 19 people and its driver Li Xinming drove the bus into a lake. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

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