THE number of people who were killed in fatal car crashes during the course of 1999 increased by 33 percent in comparison to 1998, according to the state traffic department who yesterday released their annual report. Last year a total of 156 people died on Balearic roads, the worst year of the 1990s for fatal traffic accidents, and although the Balearics fared badly the islands saw fewer fatalities than other mainland regions. Areas such as Andalucia and Catalonia both ranked high on the traffic department's list for most road deaths with over 600 and 400 last year, respectively. Across the nation 3'642 accidents claimed the lives of 4'280 people in 1999, compared to 3'613 accidents and 4'289 deaths in 1998. The traffic department put the lower death rate, despite more crashes, down to increased safety in modern vehicles. However although deaths on Spain's roads in general fell last year, they increased shockingly in the Balearics with 133 crashes killing 156 people.

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