The government said Tuesday it has drawn up a five-year plan for bringing traffic deaths under 5,500 a year by calendar 2010.

The new goal is 20 percent lower than the 6,871 deaths reported in 2005.

At the same time, the government will pursue a separate goal spelled out in 2003 to cut traffic fatalities to under 5,000 by 2012, officials said.

The new five-year plan calls for promoting technologies that will prevent human error not only on roads, but also in the skies and on railways and other modes of transportation.

It also calls for introducing a program that requires the government to evaluate safety management at transport companies.

The number of traffic accident fatalities — defined as those in which death occurs within 24 hours — fell below 7,000 for the first time in 49 years in 2005, a significant improvement from the all-time high of 16,765 set in 1970.

But if those who were injured in traffic accidents are taken into account, the number of casualties stood at 1,163,504 in 2005, topping 1 million for the seventh straight year.

The new five-year plan is the eighth since 1946 and the first to call for capping casualties at 1 million by 2010.

The government aims to build what it calls an intelligent transportation system — one composed of an advanced information and telecommunications network for people, roads and vehicles.

ITS consists of advanced navigation systems, electronic toll collection systems and assistance for safe driving.

The plan, which goes into affect April 1, has been endorsed for fiscal 2006-2010 by a 13-member Cabinet council headed by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.