Yellow light law revs debate over traffic regs online Published: 2013-1-4 11:38:00

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Drivers irate over new rules
To draw lessons from the controversies, the authority should make sure that strict regulations are practical and  are the result of full public discussion.

China tightens traffic penalties

Drivers in China will face stricter penalties for violating traffic regulations, of which there are now more than 50, up from 38, according to the new traffic law taking effect on January 1, 2013.

New traffic regulation sparks online debate
The new traffic regulation implemented on New Year's Day has triggered an enormous debate online.

New traffic regulations
●52 violations carry penalties under the new regulations, up from 38 the previous year.

●When a driver loses all 12 penalty points of his license, he or she has to retake the license test before being allowed back behind the wheel.

obscuring a license plate
12 points
drunk driving
prohibited to drive for 5 years
unfastened seatbelt
2 points, 100 yuan
making a phone call while driving
3 points, 100 yuan
1 points, 100 yuan
running a red or yellow light
6 points, 100 yuan
6 points

Good effects: Harsher rules curb urban traffic accidents
"On the first day the revised rules were in place, traffic participants in general followed traffic signs voluntarily, and common violations such as ignoring traffic lights and deliberately covering license plates were seen less," said a statement released on January 1 by the Ministry of Public Security.

The statement said traffic accidents that occurred on January 1 in five major cities -- Beijing, Tianjin, Nanjing, Hangzhou and Jinan -- decreased by 9.3 to 29.8 percent from the previous day, and no severe accidents due to ignoring traffic signals were reported.

First day under new regulation: Drivers struggle to adapt to harsher road rules
●A car owner surnamed Wang in Lu'an county, Anhui Province who did not have a vehicle license plate was fined 12 points, said local traffic police.

●A photo of a wedding car whose license plate was covered was posted on the Internet with the captions "12 point deduction" and "a wedding is no exception" by Sina user "Xujiang-John".

●"I came across a traffic jam in the city and found half of the drivers hadn't fasten their seat belts," said a photographer on his Weibo account.

●"I just ran a yellow light twice this morning and then was reminded it's the first day of new traffic rules enforcement." said the Sina Weibo user "ZhuwaiwaiIRIS".

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Editorial: Yellow light rule has come to a crossroad
China's road traffic gov¬ernance has made a lot of progress in recent years. However, this progress has been dwarfed by traf¬fic jams in major cities. 

●"The harsher punishments called for by the new regulation are expected to increase the cost of committing traffic violations and help to improve road safety," said the Ministry of Public Security in a press release.

●"China is at the early stages of the automobile age, and most drivers do not have enough psychological preparation to drive safely. Strict law enforcement is an important step towards building a safer driving environment," said Cui Jian, a traffic official from the Ministry of Public Security.

China Youth Daily ran a front page story on Thursday, listing five reasons why the public should cast doubt on the rule, among which it is physically difficult for drivers to stop immediately after a yellow light simply due to inertia.

Southern Metropolis Daily commented in an editorial on Wednesday that the public outcry over the new traffic regulation, dubbed by net users as "the strictest traffic rule ever," should alert authorities to not resort to one blanket rule in dealing with every case.

The Sichuan-based West China City Daily suggested that cities should follow the example of the Shenzhen city government and suspend the new rule and fine tune the details before executing.

Netizens' opinions: New "yellow light rule" has drivers seeing red online

@作了伐得料额宁: Drivers are supposed to slow down as they approach an intersection, which is just a common-sense rule that all drivers should follow. People who are used to driving however they like perhaps will have a hard time getting used to the new regulation, but it's an effective way to develop good driving habits.

@Meteor-Across:I was wondering whether policy-makers considered the practicality of such a law. I ran two yellow lights tonight without even knowing it. Then the car in front of me suddenly hit the brakes when the green light started flashing, which almost caused a rear-end collision.

@暴走的侠客:Too bad we didn't follow the most basic of traffic rules before and police had to clamp down. I fully support this harsher punishment to help drivers correct their bad driving habits and create a safer driving environment.

@音乐人杨海潮: There should be a transition light between green and yellow in order to give driver more time to react. Aren't policymakers familiar with the Law of Inertia?

Online poll: Is it reasonable to punish drivers who run yellow lights?


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Traffic accidents in China:
●More than 68,000 road accidents, resulting in 794 deaths, occurred in China during the National Day holiday this year, which lasted from September 30 to October 7, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

●In 2011, 62,000 people died from road accidents, ministry figures showed, and there were 27 accidents that caused at least 10 deaths each. All of them were the result of serious traffic violations such as speeding and overloading, according to the ministry.

●In the latest large accident, 11 kindergarten students died after their school van overturned and plunged into a roadside pond in Guixi, Jiangxi province, on December 24.

Traffic violations are common
●A survey conducted by the ministry's traffic management bureau and China Youth Daily polled 10,682 people in November and found that two-thirds of them admitted to running red lights, even though more than 93 percent said that traffic signals should be followed. And more than 69 percent said they are in favor of seeing traffic violators subjected to harsher punishments.

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