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Traffic violations dwindle under harsh rules


10:34, January 04, 2013

BEIJING, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- 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 on Thursday.

From Jan. 1 to 6 p.m. Jan. 3, police had found 2,157 cases of vehicles' ignoring traffic lights, a decrease of 66 percent year-on-year, 124 cases of drink driving, a year-on-year drop of 72 percent, and 7,822 cases of improper license plate display, decreased by 53 percent year-on-year.

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

The ministry stated the decreases 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, doubling 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, 52 kinds of violations can result in penalties, up from 38 under the previous regulation.

The new rules were deemed the "harshest-ever" traffic rules by Internet users upon introduction, and also criticized as too harsh and teeming with design flaws.

The most complained rule is the penalty for ignoring yellow light, the light that signals before red light reminding drivers to prepare for a halt. Drivers complained they may not be able to respond swiftly as the light suddenly shifts from green to yellow. Previously, only ignoring red light is deemed as violation.

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

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