Vice Minister of Communications Xu Yahua said on Sunday that both the country's number of road accidents and the related death toll rank the first in the world last year.
In 2005, 98,738 people were killed in 450,000 road accidents and 470,000 others were injured, with direct property losses totaling 1.88 billion yuan (US$233.8 million), the vice minister said.
He called for strengthening management over drivers training schools to improve the quality of the would-be drivers in a bid to reduce road accidents.
Statistics showed 92.7 percent of road accidents last year and 92.2 percent of the deaths were caused by drivers.
Road safety has become one of the top concerns of the country, Xu said.
With the fast expanding auto market in China, the number of drivers increased by 5.5 million a year, or an annual growth of 10 percent, during the country's 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-2005) period.
There are 6,500 drivers training schools throughout the country, and the figure may rise to 7,000 this year.
(Xinhua News Agency February 26, 2006)