Roads in China were safer in the first nine months of the year, according to the Ministry of Public Security.
The 34 major traffic accidents - accidents with more than ten fatalities - that occurred in the period resulted in 495 deaths, vice-minister Liu Jinguo said at a teleconference on traffic accident prevention.
"From January through September 2006, Chinese police received 286,393 reports of traffic accidents which caused 65,570 deaths and 1.19 billion yuan (US$149 million) of direct property losses," Liu announced.
Liu said the number of traffic accidents was down by 15 percent on the same period of 2005 and the death toll down 7.4 percent.
"Traffic accident prevention should be an important element in assessing the work performance of local officials," Liu said.
(Xinhua News Agency October 20, 2006)