Driving manners target of five-year policy

09:06, February 21, 2011      

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Beijing began a five-year action plan over the weekend aimed at cracking down on traffic violations and bad driving habits in a bid to ease the city's worsening traffic situation.

Over the next five years, traffic police will crack down on drunk driving, running red lights, the illegal occupation of emergency lanes and bus lanes, driving without a license, and six other traffic violations. Bad driving habits, such as forcibly overtaking another vehicle and forcing it into another lane, will also be targeted.

Punishments include fines and points. Once drivers have 12 points their licenses will be suspended and the drivers will need to restudy traffic regulations and pass a test to get their licenses back.

"The plan needs the participation of all citizens, so we can improve the capital's image and people's awareness of traffic laws and regulations, as well as the city's traffic service, management and environment," said Zhou Zhengyu, deputy secretary-general of the municipal government.

Li Shaoming, deputy head of Beijing traffic management bureau, said at a meeting on Saturday that if traffic violations or bad driving habits cause vehicles to stop on the road for one minute, they can lead to a kilometer of congestion.

The city will also create some 250,000 parking spaces, near residential communities, hospitals and schools to relieve the shortage of parking lots, Li said. Parking fees in residential areas will be lowered.

The action plan is another effort to reduce Beijing's chronic congestion, following the decision last year to restrict the proliferation of vehicles on the streets by limiting the number of car license plates issued.

Li Xiaosong, deputy director of Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport, said: "If the restriction on car registrations is a 'hard' measure, the action plan laid out at this time is a 'soft' one."

Lu Huapu, a transport expert at Tsinghua University, told the Beijing News that enhancing awareness of good and bad habits on the road will help the traffic flow become smoother.

Li Chenguang, who works at a telecommunications firm in Beijing, said he welcomes the plan. "But more detailed measures should be made to ensure its efficient implementation."

Cao Yin contributed to this story.

By Chen Xin, China Daily

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