BEIJING – China’s transportation authority on Sunday ordered local departments to launch thorough safety overhaul to resolutely curb severe traffic accidents after a raft of tragedies in less than a month.
Local authorities should spare no efforts to put safety at first place, as ensuring safe transportation is an important task of protecting people’s interests, Li Shenglin, head of the Ministry of Transportation (MOT), said at an emergency meeting.
The meeting was held after a high-speed train crash in East China’s Zhejiang province on Saturday, which left 35 dead and 192 others injured as of Sunday night.
Li said the incidents had revealed protruding problems, and a nationwide safety inspection should be carried out immediately.
Top officials at all levels of authorities should be held responsible for accidents, he noted.
Also at the meeting, MOT announced to put video surveillance facilities on the long-distance sleeper bus after a bus caught fire on Friday near the city of Xinyang in Central China’s Henan province. The accident left 41 people dead, and was the deadliest of its kind in years.
Feng Zhenglin, MOT’s deputy head, said every sleeper bus should be installed with GPS and surveillance camera under the scrutiny of the operator’s headquarter.
He also advised bus companies to suspend service between 2 am and 5 am when road accidents happened most frequently.
Intensified efforts should be made to curb overloading which made several bridges collapse recently, he added.
China has the world’s second longest highways to facilitate the increasingly busy transportation in the world’s second largest economy. However, substandard construction and lax safety supervision in some regions had threatened people’s lives.
A bridge partially collapsed early Friday in China’s eastern city of Hangzhou, leaving a truck driver injured.
One person was killed and 22 others were injured after a bridge collapsed Thursday in east Fujian province.
On Saturday evening, high-speed train D301 rear-ended bullet train D3115, which lost power and stalled after allegedly being hit by lightning near the city of Wenzhou in Zhejiang province.
Four of the D301’s coaches fell off of the bridge, while two of the D3115’s coaches were derailed without falling off the bridge.
Shortly after the accident, Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and Zhou Yongkang, a Standing Committee member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, called for all-out efforts to rescue passengers and ordered to make rescue work a priority.
Three railway officials, including Long Jing, head of the Shanghai Railway Bureau; Li Jia, head of the bureau’s Communist Party of China (CPC) committee, and He Shengli, a deputy chief of the bureau, were removed from their posts following the train collision.