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City's road deaths fall 20% month on month

TRAFFIC police said yesterday that 64 people were killed in road accidents on local streets last month, 20 percent fewer than the 80 people who died in traffic accidents in January.

A total 195 people were injured in car accidents last month, which was a slight increase, month on month.

Congestion on 79 major downtown roads was slightly improved from a month earlier, with morning rush-hour traffic moving at above 10 kilometers an hour on average.

However, police said the roads will be busy again next month due to Tomb-Sweeping Day. Qingming Festival falls on the first Saturday of next month and traditionally sees families visiting the tombs of their relatives to pay tribute to the dead.

Rain will worsen road conditions during the upcoming traffic peak, slowing traffic and increasing the possibility of accidents, police said.

They did not announce how many drivers were detained for serious accidents last month but said a hit-and-run driver is facing up to seven years in jail for vehicular manslaughter connected to the death of a 26-year-old man in January.

Police said the suspect, Tan Linrong, of Songjiang District, has confessed to his involvement in the fatal crash in suburban Jinshan District on January 14.

The victim, Liu Jijie, was thrown a dozen meters by the impact of the crash. Police found no traces of brake marks at the site of the crash. Long Tiewen, Liu's colleague, was slightly injured.

Tan allegedly told police he didn't stop because he'd been drinking that lunchtime and was scared he'd test positive for drunk driving. But fleeing the scene of the crash means he faces a harsher sentence.

"If he had stopped after the crash, he would have been facing a maximum three-year jail term," said Li Binjie, a traffic police investigator in Jinshan. Tan now faces between three and seven years, Li said.

Police tracked him down based on witness statements and surveillance footage.

Liu was from Anhui Province. He worked as a salesman in Shanghai and was the only person in his village to have graduated from college.

Tan has paid more than 560,000 yuan (US$81,895) to Long and Liu's family.


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