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Ministry orders deadly traffic signals fixed

By Duan Wuning (Global Times)

09:28, November 30, 2012

With more than 25,000 traffic deaths in the first 10 months of this year caused by motorists and pedestrians ignoring street signs and red lights, the Ministry of Public Security said Wednesday it is working to make roads safer and raise public awareness.

More than 4,200 accidents involving running red lights resulted in 798 deaths throughout the country, while 26,154 people were killed in accidents involving all types of traffic signs, reported the Beijing Times.

The Ministry of Public Security ordered 25 cities to investigate and review 99,372 traffic signs and found 4,807 failed to meet requirements. Some of the traffic lights were misshapen, others worked out of sequence and some were erected in inappropriate locations. The ministry ordered that 1,108 traffic lights be reinstalled.

The ministry also said it will attempt to improve traffic safety by posting additional traffic police at intersections and organizing volunteer guards who will persuade pedestrians to obey traffic rules.

A nationwide survey by the Ministry of Public Security and China Youth Daily shows that 67 percent of the 10,682 respondents admitted they had run a red light in the past, and 69.2 percent think the punishment for violating traffic laws should be tougher.

Research conducted by Tongji University Professor Li Keping in 2010 showed that the design of traffic signals should conform to the psychology of pedestrians who normally have the patients to wait 60 to 90 seconds for traffic signals to change.

"We found traffic signals in some areas are too long, in some extreme cases there are three-minute waits," Li told the Global Times, adding that part of the problem is that "pedestrians and non-motorized vehicles don't get the same attention as motorists when local governments plan and design traffic solutions."

Web users have also jumped into the debate with many offering sarcastic remarks about the mentality of motorists and pedestrians.

"It doesn't matter what color the light is, you can cross a road whenever you gather a group of people, this is how to cross a road Chinese style," noted one Web user whose comment was widely reposted.

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