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Road accidents become less fatal

Deaths on Swiss roads continued to decline in 2009, but one group is crashing more frequently than others for the first time — middle-aged male motorcyclists.

The Federal Statistics Office released annual figures on fatal traffic accidents on Friday that showed 349 people in total lost their lives on Swiss roads last year – eight fewer than in 2008.

The report also found 4,708 people were seriously injured. The number of alcohol-related traffic accidents continued to decline, with 56 people killed in 2,000 accidents.

Over the past decade the number of non-commercial vehicles on the road has increased by 13 per cent. But the number of deaths in 2009 was 41 per cent lower than in 2000. Three out of every four fatalities are men, the Statistics Office said.

But the number of motorcycles on the roads has nearly doubled since 2000, many of them owned by riders over 40 years old. In 2009 more than 1,200 motorcyclists in this age group riding machines bigger than 125cc crashed. For the first time, younger riders crashed less frequently than their older brethren with about 1,100 accidents reported among motorcyclists aged 18-39.

Despite the overall decline in fatalities and accidents, the government has proposed dozens of wide-ranging measures to improve road safety. and agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR