Tue, 04 Jan 2000

Roads stay thirst for blood in 1999

SEMARANG: The number of traffic accidents remained high in the country over the past year, with a whopping death toll serving notice to holiday revelers bound for their hometowns.

Chief of Central Java Police's traffic directorate Col. Utjin Sudiana revealed over the weekend that 538 accidents occurred on roads across the province throughout last year, leaving 624 people dead and 1,121 injured.

Separately, chief of Southeast Sulawesi Police Col. Soeroso said 220 people were killed in 280 traffic accidents in 1999, with negligence and inadequate traffic signs blamed for the lives claimed. He said the provincial police had written to the local traffic and land transportation agency to replace the old signs.

Riau Police, meanwhile, reported 379 road accidents throughout last year, which left 325 people dead and 416 injured. Chief of the oil rich province's police Brig. Gen. Mochammad Arifin Rachim attributed the traffic accidents mostly to human errors.

Both Utjin and Soeroso said that although their respective provinces saw a decline in the number of fatalities, the death toll still "sparks a grave concern". Not to mention the resulting financial losses which reached Rp 90 billion in the three provinces alone, Antara reported. (amd)