BEIJING, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- The numbers of China's automobiles and drivers increased by 9.53 million and 9.04 million respectively in the first seven months of this year, said Huang Ming, vice minister of public security, on Thursday.
Huang told a symposium on road safety that China has become an auto society due to rapid economic and social development.
As of the end of 2012, the country had more than 240 million motor vehicles, including 120 million automobiles, and more than 200 million people have driver's licenses. The length of roads in service reached 4.24 million kilometers, with the longest highways in the world, said Huang.
In comparison, China had only 3.62 million automobiles and 5.17 million drivers in 1986. Roads in that year were less than 1 million kilometers, according to Huang.
Huang added that although China sees far fewer road traffic accidents now compared to previous years, the country still lags far behind developed countries in road safety.
The official advocates politeness in driving, and calls for a safer and more orderly road environment through law, technology, virtue and the participation of the whole society.