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New rule targets sleepy drivers for road safety

(Global Times)

10:26, October 31, 2011

Bus companies whose fatigued drivers commit more than one major road accident per year will have their licenses suspended, according to a new regulation that aims to reduce the number of traffic accidents in Shanghai.

The measure was introduced last week by Shanghai Municipal Transport and Port Authority, which said that some of the accidents involving long-distance buses from the city this year - resulting in a total of 30 deaths - may have been prevented, if tired drivers had been forced by their employers to follow stricter road rules. A major road accident is determined as one that results in at least one death or three serious injuries, or a minimum financial loss of 30,000 yuan ($4,700).

"Apart from drunk driving and speeding, sleepy drivers greatly contribute to fatal road accidents," Wang Jianjun, a press officer for Shanghai Municipal Transport and Port Authority, told the Global Times Sunday.

"The regulation hopes to apply pressure to bus companies, so their drivers are made to adhere more closely to safety regulations," he said.

Long-distance bus drivers are legally required to break between 2 am and 5 am, but some overnight drivers fail to pull over to the side of the road when traveling during these hours, one of a series of simple regulations that, if followed, could prevent over-fatigue, and ultimately unnecessary road accidents, he said.

The length of a bus company's suspension will vary depending on the severity of each case, said Wang.

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