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700 children killed in car accidents in Russia so far in 2008

ST. PETERSBURG, September 16 (RIA Novosti) - Close to 700 children have been killed in car accidents in Russia for the first eight months of this year, the Russian interior minister said Tuesday.

"There were 14,700 accidents involving children. A total of 685 children died, and 16,300 were injured," Rashid Nurgaliyev said at a traffic safety conference.

The minister said that overall, 135,500 accidents happened in Russia in the first eight months of 2008, 8.4% fewer than in the same period last year. A total of 18,000 people died (11.4% fewer compared with last year) and 169,000 were injured (9.7% fewer).

He said 315,000 people had died on the country's roads in the last 10 years, with about 2 million receiving injuries.

Russian legislators have been trying to reduce road deaths with stricter traffic laws, but many think this has mostly resulted in increased corruption rather than a real drop in the casualty figures.

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