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Buzzowords in China in first half of 2013:The 'harshest-ever' traffic rules

(People's Daily Online)

08:24, July 10, 2013


The number of traffic violations has plummeted since the "harshest-ever" traffic rules took effect on Jan. 1, 2013, the Ministry of Public Security announced.

Over the period from Jan. 1 to 6 p.m. on Jan. 3, police reported 2,157 cases of vehicles ignoring traffic lights, a year-on-year drop of 66 percent, 124 cases of drink driving, a year-on-year drop of 72 percent, and 7,822 cases of improper display of license plates, a year-on-year drop of 53 percent.

A total of 1,204 traffic accidents involving deaths or injuries occurred during the first three days of the new year, a year-on-year drop of 22 percent.

The ministry stated that the decrease in traffic accidents and violations showed that newly-revised traffic rules had been effective in regulating driving behaviors and preventing road accidents.

Under the revision, ignoring traffic lights will result in six penalty points, double the previous punishment. The penalty for improper license plate display is now 12 points.

Each violation is associated with penalty points, based on the severity of the offense. If a driver receives 12 points in a year, he or she is required to attend a seven-day training session and take a written exam before getting back behind the wheel.

Moreover, there are now 52 separate violations that can result in penalties, up from 38 under the previous regulations.

On their introduction, the new rules were deemed the "harshest-ever" by Internet users, and were criticized as too harsh, and riddled with flaws.

The most-criticized rule is the penalty for ignoring the yellow light that operates before the red light, alerting drivers to prepare to stop. Drivers complain they may not be able to respond swiftly, as the light shift from green to yellow is sudden. Previously, only ignoring a red light was deemed a violation.

The Ministry recognized that such complaints are understandable, and promised to study the public suggestions and install proper traffic lights.

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