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Authorities underline caution

Updated: Feb 22,2018 7:28 AM     Xinhua/China Daily

The country’s traffic authority has warned of traffic safety risks after 11 people died and 20 were injured in a single traffic accident during the peak of the Spring Festival travel rush.

An overloaded small bus skidded off the road at around 11:30 am on Feb 20 at a downhill turn in Ningdu county, Jiangxi province, and plunged into a 10-meter ditch. Nine people, including the driver, were killed at the scene and one died in hospital the same day.

On Feb 21, another person died from injuries suffered in the accident.

Initial investigations have found 31 people were on the 19-seater when the accident happened, according to the local authority.

Local police have detained five people suspected of causing the accident, including the legal representative of a company called Ruixiang, which owns the bus.

The Ministry of Public Security has sent a working team to Ningdu to guide the investigation and the handling of the accident. It also warned of traffic safety risks as a large number of people head home from the Spring Festival holiday that officially ended on Feb 21.

The peak of the travel rush came as many regions were hit by rain and snow, which has increased safety risks, the ministry said in a statement.

According to the National Meteorological Center, there will be rain in most regions south of the Yangtze River, and some of the regions may experience heavy rain on Feb 21 and Feb 22.

The center said there will be snow in northwestern, northeastern and western parts of the country on Feb 22.

The ministry said drowsy driving and overloading is more likely to occur as the increase in travelers leaves the public road transportation system stressed, and some people may turn to unlicensed vehicles for rides.

The ministry warned drivers not to use emergency lanes during traffic jams as that may prevent emergency vehicles from reaching those injured in accidents.