( Reuter )- Twenty-three high school students were killed on Friday when a bus carrying them on a recreation trip overturned and hit a house in a coastal region of Syria, officials said.
The owner of the house in the province of Tartous was also killed. A total of 31 people, mostly students, were injured, nine of them in critical condition, the officials said.
"The bus was going too fast, approached a curve and could not maintain control, one of the officials told Reuters.
Syrian roads, especially ones linking provinces, are notorious for being dangerous. The roads rarely carry markings, no speed limits are enforced, and small buses with tiny engines and no crash protection are allowed on highways.
Traffic accidents killed 2,300 Syrians in 2006, according to the latest data. The country of 19 million people has no mandatory vehicle inspection. Local newspapers often carry reports of collisions killing a dozen people or more at once.
President Bashar al-Assad ordered a sharp increase in traffic fines in February in an attempt to lower accidents. The number of vehicles on the road increased sharply over the last three years after the government allowed the private sector to import cars and partially lowered tariffs.