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NOUMÉA, New Caledonia (January 3, 2000 - Oceania Flash/SPC)---In an effort to make New Caledonia's roads safer and to reduce fatalities, local officials last week set up road safety commissions, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

The commissions' main tasks will be to carry out surveys of accidents and their causes, and to make recommendations to the French territory's decision-makers for traffic safety improvements.

The move was triggered by general concern in New Caledonia, where statistics show that about 60 persons die every year in road accidents.

Considering New Caledonia’s population of about 200,000, this is about twice the accident rate ratio of metropolitan France.

As a result of the increased attention on road safety, it is expected that the wearing of safety belts again will be made compulsory, on both urban and rural roads. Their use was once mandatory, but the law was abrogated.

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