MOSCOW, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- At least five people died, 39 more were hurt in a major traffic accident in the southern Russian region of Stavropol, local emergency authorities said Wednesday.
A Lada car collided head-on with a Dagestan-registered Setra coach at 7:10 a.m. Moscow time (0310 GMT) on a highway 40 km off the regional capital, the Emergency Situations Ministry said on its website.
According to the police, there were 44 people in the long-haul bus, including four children aged from 3 to 12 and a driver. Thirty-nine of them are hospitalized. The car driver and four Setra passengers died on the spot.
The car went on the wrong side of the road which caused the crash, police said. The bus capsized after the collision.
Following the tragedy, Stavropol governor Valery Zerenkov asked the regional government to ban all passengers hauls by commercial carriers at night.
He said this was the fifth serious road accident in Stavropol region since May when he was appointed on his post.
"As every night ends, (federal TV channels) Vesti or Channel One report about road accidents in Stavropol region," the governor said during a government meeting.
Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev told members of the Russian Parliament Wednesday that the number of drivers spotted drinking behind the wheels rose by 1.2 percent compared to the same period last year.
Traffic accidents have become a serious problem in Russia where tens of thousand of people die on the roads annually. Russian government introduced severe punishments for drunk driving after a drunk driver hit seven people, including five children, at a Moscow bus stop in September.