Monday February 4, 2013
Tougher laws seeing results
MADE IN CHINA
By CHOW HOW BAN
Touted as the harshest in China’s history, the new traffic regulations provide for a deduction of demerit points for various offences.
SINCE the implementation of stricter traffic regulations at the start of the year, road authorities in China have seen a significant drop in the number of traffic offences and accidents.
According to the Public Security Ministry, within last month, a total of 1.37 million cases involving motorists violating traffic lights rules was reported.
More than 285,000 cases involved motorists speeding at a pace of more than 50% of the speed limit.
This was a decline of 40% and 32.5%, respectively, compared with the corresponding period last year.
The number of cases involving violators who intentionally obscured or did not install the motor vehicle licence plate also dropped by 84%.
Li Zhe, the vice-director of the traffic management and order department under the ministry, said that casualties caused by traffic lights violations decreased by 13.3%, especially based on the fact that the total number of deaths at road junctions in the cities was more than 4% lower than that of last year.
“Under the new traffic laws, not only will traffic offenders have their demerit points deducted, but they have also brought about bold reforms on driving school learning and driving examination,” he told China National Radio last Friday.
The traffic regulations – touted as the harshest in China’s history – provide for a deduction of 12 demerit points for offences such as drink driving, hit-and-run, driving on the reverse direction or on the median of the road, and obscuring the car licence plate.
If the motorist runs through the traffic lights at a junction or does not slow down and come to a complete stop at the turn of the yellow light, he will have six points deducted.
Other offences that will be subjected to a six-point deduction include haphazard driving when the visibility of the road condition is low and not making way for the school bus.
If the motorist is caught using his handheld cellular phone while driving, he will be subjected to a two-point deduction.
Those with a deduction track record of 12 points will not be able to apply for a heavy vehicle’s driving licence within five years and driving licence for a tractor or passenger car within three years.
Officer Zhao Di, from the Shuaifuyuan vicinity’s traffic police squad in Beijing’s Dongcheng district, told the radio station that he could see a decrease in the number of cases involving major offences and the traffic order was much better now.
“There have been fewer cases where motorists beat the red light. This is because many motorists are taking these new regulations seriously.
“It is obvious that motorists will now slow down at the turn of the yellow light and this is a big difference compared with the road safety situation in the past,” he said.
Chongqing Morning Post reported that the traffic police in the Huixing area in Chongqing city’s Yubei district had not caught any motorist violating the road regulations that would subject them to a 12-point deduction since the new laws came into effect last month.
“The new regulations have played a significant role in giving stern warning to the motorists,” said Li Ming, a deputy chief of the traffic police in the area.
“Sometimes they will even wait for a few seconds more at the green light and you no longer see wedding cars having their car plate obscured by decorations,” he said.
He, however, said motorists maintained their behaviour of driving haphazardly and changing lanes without complying with road regulations.
Motorists interviewed by the newspaper said that they would not take the regulations for granted as the deduction of demerit points might cost them dearly at the end of the day.
They said they would take a bit more time to get used to the stricter regulations.
Many hoped that with the focus now already on motorists, it was time for the authorities to regulate jaywalking as well.
In cities like Xi’an in Shaanxi province and Wuhan in Hubei province, the traffic police have fined pedestrians between five and 10 yuan (RM2.40 and RM4.90) for crossing the road despite the pedestrian light not turning green yet.
But the police have not been adamant enough to follow through the road safety campaign to address jaywalking once and for all.