Drivers struggle to adapt to harsher road rules

Updated: 2013-01-01 21:47

(Xinhua)

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SHANGHAI - Chinese drivers face harsher penalties after a revised regulation came into effect on Tuesday, with many motorists being caught out.

Under the revision, ignoring traffic lights will result in six penalty points, double the previous punishment. The penalty for improper display of license plates is now 12 points.

According to the new rules, 52 different kinds of violations can result in penalties, up from 38 under the previous regulation. The new rules have been dubbed "the strictest traffic regulations ever" on the Internet.

Each violation is associated with penalty points, based on how severe the offence is. If a driver receives 12 points in a year, they are required to attend a seven-day training session and take a written exam before they can return to the road.

"On the first day of the revised road rules, I fastened my seat belt, no smoking and no phone calls. I gave way to a school bus with no students on it," said a Sina Weibo user with screen name "Suanpijimaoyujimaosuanpi".

Despite the new rules, various violations occurred on Tuesday among drivers and were exposed by Chinese netizens.

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 on Sina Weibo, a Chinese twitter-like microblogging service.

"I came across a traffic jam in the city and found half of the drivers hadn't fasten their seat belts," said Sina user "Diaojinnikengdedongdong".

"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".

A photo of a wedding car whose license plate was covered was posted over the Internet.

"12 point deduction," said Sina user "Xujiang-John" who posted the photo. "A wedding is no exception."

In 2011, 62,000 people died in road accidents, according to statistics from the Ministry of Public Security.

In a poll on Sina.com, 67 percent of more than 1,000 participants supported the revised traffic rules.

Some have suggested pedestrians should conform to road rules, as they often cross roads while ignoring red lights.

"We used to have some bad habits but now we should be more careful given the tough penalties of the new rules," said Tang Limin, a taxi driver in Shanghai.

"We hope both drivers and pedestrians fall into the habit of strictly abiding by the rules to create a good traffic environment," added Tang.

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