January 4, 2009 / 5:05 AM / 9 years ago

China says 2008 traffic deaths down to 73,484

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese traffic deaths declined 10 percent in 2008 to 73,484 helped by a nationwide safety campaign during the Olympic Games, the Ministry of Public Security said on Sunday.

The explosive growth of China’s auto market, the world’s second largest, lax enforcement of rules and poor quality roads have resulted in one of the world’s worst traffic safety records.

A greater focus on safety, however, has reduced the number of traffic deaths from over 100,000 as recently as 2003.

The more than a quarter million traffic accidents in 2008 resulted in a total economic loss of one billion yuan ($146 million), the ministry said on its website (www.mps.gov.cn).

The Olympic safety campaign lasted from April through the end of September, while other safety programmes lasted until the end of the year, said the ministry.

US$=6.84 yuan

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