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Lawmakers, Advisors Warn of High Traffic Accident Fatality
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Weak security awareness, unscrupulous violation of traffic rules and lack of road ethics are the major causes of frequent traffic accidents in China, which kill about 100,000 people a year, said legislators in Beijing.

Sun Shujun, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, said that many traffic accidents are related to risky driving behaviors, such as speeding, overloading, fatigue driving and drunken driving.

Liu Quanfang, who is attending the annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), considered overloaded trucks a major threat to the road security, as they led to more than 30 percent of the total traffic accidents.

Trucks are often found to carry cargoes two or three times their regulated loading capacity, which not only increase accident potentials but also cause damage to road, even the collapse of highways and bridges in serious cases, Liu said.

Truck drivers, who make a living on transport business, sometimes drive day and night despite tiredness, risking their lives to make more money, he added.

According to his research, traffic accidents cause about 600,000 deaths and injuries in China every year, which may have impact on the life of about 1.8 million families.

China recorded 349,000 traffic accidents in the first 11 months of last year, with 82,000 deaths, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Sun Shujun also blamed driving schools for loosing the training of new driver. "These schools care only money, but do little in legal and ethical education on traffic security. Some even help their students get driver's licenses if they fail the test."

Driver's license applicants in China acquire their skills through attending a training course in driving schools.

These schools usually have a training field designed for various road conditions, such as narrow passageways, railway crossings, roads with hidden hazards and hilly slopes. Students learn the driving skills in the field but never try driving in a real situation.

Some of the schools are designated by local traffic authorities and thus can take advantage of the special "relations" to help students get licenses through illegal means.

Sun also pointed out that the lack of necessary traffic facilities along road shall not be neglected.

He called for better supervision over driver training and testing and suspend the operation of schools with poor training.

NPC deputies and CPPCC members also suggested better use of police and scientific means to monitor and control traffic flows and the improvement of speed limit warnings and other traffic facilities.

(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2007)

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