BEIJING, Jan. 13 -- Road accidents, the No 1 killer in China, are expected to decrease during the festival season thanks to an ongoing national road safety campaign.
Thirty-one inspection teams from the Ministry of Public Security have been sent to all of China's provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions to improve road safety, ministry officials said at a press conference yesterday in Beijing.
Speeding, overloading, driving tired, and carrying passengers on trucks are strictly forbidden. And monitors have been installed on vehicles to ensure that the drivers should take a rest after four hours of continuous driving.
Yang Jun, director of the ministry's traffic administrative department, described the road safety campaign as "the largest and most rigorous one" he has ever experienced.
"We rarely go to remote western areas such as Tibet and Xinjiang autonomous regions during winter, but this year's campaign covers all regions across China," he said, adding that the Spring Festival season always witnesses a significant number of road accidents.
He said that since late last month when the campaign begun, inspectors have visited more than 1,022 schools, passenger transport stations and transport companies in 174 cities and noted 977 hidden dangers. The campaign is due to end late next month.
The ministry confirmed that last year saw a steady reduction in road accidents, and fewer resultant deaths and injuries.
Last year's 450,254 road accidents claimed the lives of 98,738 people, down 13.1 per cent and 7.8 per cent respectively compared with the previous year's figures.
"It's been the third consecutive year that we've seen a reduction, and it's the first time that fatalities have fallen below 100,000 since 2001," Yang said. But he also warned that there was not much change to the number of major road accidents accidents that claim the lives of 10 or more people at a time.
Ministry figures found that speeding, overloading and driving tired caused at least 76 per cent of all major accidents. "To prevent major accidents is also the focus of our ongoing campaign," he said.
He stressed that drivers, especially those who have only held a driving licence for less than three years, should strictly observe traffic rules as more than 30 per cent of the total fatalities result from accidents caused by new drivers.