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China’s deadliest: roads, mining, fireworks

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BEIJING — Coal mining and fireworks were China's deadliest industries last year, but most fatal accidents happened on roads and highways, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday.

More than 95,000 people died in road accidents in the first 11 months of last year, up 11 percent from the same period the year before, Xinhua said, citing figures from the government's State Administration of Work Safety.

Accidents in coal mines claimed 5,395 lives during that same period — a drop of 459 deaths from 2000 but still the biggest source of industrial accidents. The safety agency blamed a "worrying lack of safety" in China's mines.

The report did not give a figure for deaths at fireworks factories, where a string of explosions are known to have killed at least 100, including children. The southeast province of Jiangxi vowed last week to shut down its seven-century-old fireworks industry.

The report also mentioned industrial chemicals and fires in public places. It said accidents of all sorts killed 116,858 people between January and November of last year, up 26 percent from the same time in 2000.

The death toll "sounded (the) alarm on production safety," Xinhua said.

The United States, with less than a quarter of China's population, had 41,821 traffic deaths in 2000, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.