Derided yellow-light law loses its grip, now a warning

Source:Global Times Published: 2013-1-7 9:03:44

The Ministry of Public Security on Sunday backed down from its heavily criticized new traffic rule by adjusting the punishment meted out to drivers who run yellow lights.

In a notice issued Sunday by the ministry, motorists will no longer lose six of their 12 annual points if they drive through a yellow light. Instead they will only receive a warning.

The original six-point penalty for running a yellow light came into effect on January 1. It meant motorists who had two such minor offenses in a year would have to attend a driving school and pass tests again before being allowed back on the road.

The new regulation stipulates that motorists must come to a full stop at yellow lights unless some part of their vehicle had already crossed the line the moment the yellow light appeared.

Many drivers complained the six-point penalty was too severe and believed it could lead to dangerous, emergency stops that could cause rear end accidents. Web users claimed the rule also runs contrary to the laws of physics, saying it is impossible for motorists driving at normal speeds to come to a full stop within seconds of seeing a yellow light.

The ministry has now backed off saying in the notice that it appreciated comments and suggestions from motorists.

"This is a compromise made by the ministry under pressure from the people and the ministry deserves credit for taking the people's opinions into consideration," Zhu Lijia, director of Public Administration Studies at the Chinese Academy of Governance, told the Global Times. Zhu said the traffic regulation was flawed because the government did not conduct an opinion survey, adding that the ministry's quick turnabout shows its rigid policy-making style is changing.

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