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Gov't plans safer roads, waterways by 2010
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The government is determined to have a better network of road and water transport and emergency response system in place by 2010 in order to reduce the number of accidents.

The system is expected to help cut the death rate per 10,000 commercial vehicles by 40 percent and reduce the rate of major accidents per 10,000 vessels by 10 percent, compared to the figures for 2005, the Ministry of Communications (MOC) said.

The measures will include improving highway design, setting up more injury-prevention facilities and keeping overloaded vehicles off the roads.

Efforts will also be made to improve maritime rescue and salvage operations.

The director of the MOC's rescue and salvage bureau, Song Jiahui, said once these steps have been taken, rescue vessels will take no more than 90 minutes to reach an accident in key areas such as the Bohai Bay, Qiongzhou Strait and the waters around Zhoushan Islands.

The search range of the maritime rescue helicopter fleet will be expanded from 110 to 130 nautical miles in 2010.

"By then, our rescue crews will be able to use helicopters to carry out searches at night," he said. At present, pilots have to undergo special training to search for people and sinking vessels at night.

Divers will be able to go down up to 300 m for salvage and rescue operations by 2010, and rescue teams can clear oil and other polluting substances from sunken ships in coastal waters or harbors, Song said.

(China Daily February 13, 2008)

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