• Kyodo News

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The number of people who died in traffic accidents totaled 4,914 in 2009, down 4.7 percent from the previous year and less than 5,000 for the first time since 1952, the National Police Agency said in a preliminary report Saturday.

The number declined for the ninth straight year as more people use seat belts and the number of accidents caused by drunken driving and speeding continues to decrease.

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