Beijing registered 65,970 new motor vehicles in the first 45 days of 2009, with a daily increase of 1,466, according to the municipal traffic authority. That brought the total number of automobiles in the city to 3.56 million as of February/2009, according to figures from the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau.
The city registered 58,590 new drivers in the same period, a daily increase of 1,302. The number of drivers in the city totaled 5.2 million. Song Jianguo, the bureau head, said the city is facing serious traffic pressure and safety risks due to the growing number of automobiles. The problems seemed more prominent in the outskirts of Beijing with the lack of safety facilities.
Beijing reported 90 deaths from traffic accidents in its suburban areas since the beginning of this year, or 66 percent of the city’s total traffic deaths in the past six weeks, according to the bureau. The bureau did not reveal traffic deaths in 2008, but said last year saw the number of people killed in traffic accidents drop by 196 from 2007.
Huang Wei, vice mayor of Beijing, said the number of people killed in traffic accidents fell within 1,000 people in 2008, the first time in ten years.
Song said the bureau would launch a traffic safety overhaul starting soon focusing on increased inspections of traffic facilities, markers and transportation companies. The bureau would also strengthen surveillance of traffic conditions around schools and drivers of heavy-weight vehicles, Song said.