China's State Administration of Work Safety urged local authorities to strengthen their supervision on traffic safety on Thursday following a catastrophic train crash earlier this week.
Local safety watchdogs must learn lessons from the deadly collision on Monday and reinforce inspection and maintenance of trains, rail lines and other rail facilities, said director Wang Jun during a video conference.
He asked measures be taken to ensure safety at crossings and high-speed sections of the rail lines.
A high-speed train traveling from Beijing to the coastal city of Qingdao derailed and crashed into another train in the eastern Shandong Province on Monday, killing 71 and injuring 416.
A preliminary investigations revealed the Beijing train was running at 131 kilometers per hour at the time of the accident, while the speed limit of that section was 80 kph.
Wang said safety should also be improved on highways, especially for rural areas and school buses.
He criticized the lack of enthusiasm and work inefficiency of some local officials and enterprises in a national inspection on work safety launched late last month.
Official statistics show 35.3 percent more people died in "serious" land traffic accidents (with a death toll between 10 and 29) in the country in the first four months, compared with the same period last year. The total number of deaths for all accidents on land, however, dropped 13.2 percent.
The General Office of the State Council, China's Cabinet, issued a circular on Wednesday, calling for "more resolute and powerful" measures to effectively curb serious accidents at mines, fireworks plants and chemical factories, as well as in traffic.
(Xinhua News Agency May 2, 2008)