Traffic deaths fall for 11th year to 4,612


The number of people who died in traffic accidents in 2011 fell for the 11th straight year, the government said Tuesday.

The total was down 5.2 percent from the year, falling to 4,612 and less than 30 percent of its peak of 16,765 in 1970, according to the government’s annual white paper on traffic safety.

A rise in the use of seat belts and a decrease in the number of accidents caused by drunken driving and other illegal behavior is helping to reduce fatal accidents, the white paper says.

The report plays up the government’s measures against reckless bicyclists as an increasing number of people are using bikes to commute after experiencing severe public transportation disruptions in Tokyo and other areas immediately after the March 2011 disasters.