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Harsher punishments on traffic violations

(Xinhua)

08:43, June 21, 2012

BEIJING - The Chinese traffic authority is considering doubling penalty points imposed on those caught running red lights and plate related traffic violations, according to a Wednesday report of a local newspaper in Beijing.

An unidentified official with the Traffic Management Bureau under the Ministry of Public Security confirmed that a draft amendment on the regulation of driving licenses was being discussed and has been distributed to local authorities in April for deliberation.

However, the text of the draft remains unavailable to the public.

Under China's current regulation on driving licenses, if a driver's penalty points accumulates to 12 or higher within 12 months, he or she must report to the police and go through a seven-day special training on traffic law before taking the written exam for driving licenses again.

According to the Beijing Times, the penalty points for improper display of plates will be 12, while the current regulation only imposes six points. The points for ignoring traffic lights will increase from three to six.

Traffic violations in both categories pose grave threats to public security, therefore the increase in penalty points is expected to remind drivers to drive carefully, said the report, citing a police officer.

The experience could have been drawn from the China's efforts in curbing incidents of people driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Police reported that the number of drunk driving cases has plummeted since May 1, 2011, when an amended rule criminalizing drunk driving came into force.

The amended Criminal Law stipulates that all drunk driving constitutes a criminal offence, even if no road accidents or other serious consequences occur.

In the current campaign for traffic safety of coaches, police put the focus on detecting drug use among drivers, which had witnessed 1,436 coach and truck drivers have their licenses suspended over drug use from March to May.

Drug use by a driver does not automatically constitute a violation of the traffic law on the Chinese mainland, and police must cite the anti-drug law to make an arrest if a drug-using driver does not make a concrete traffic violation.

Legal experts are calling for new rules to criminalize the act of driving under the influence of drug consumption to deter such offenses.

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