Starting this week, Chinese drivers must now stop at yellow lights as well as red lights in a move ostensibly designed to improve road safety in China. Some suspect that the rule is designed to penalize drivers more with fines to support local governments, and many drivers were not happy with the new injunction.
“A driver probably needs to slow down his car to a very low speed, or brake their car all of a sudden before the traffic lights,” reads a comment on state-run Xinhua’s microblog, according to the South China Morning Post.
The rule went into effect on Tuesday.
“This will only result in more severe … collisions. It is an unreasonable rule that violates Newton’s First Law of Motion, and should be amended,” the comment continued.
In a statement released by China’s Ministry of Public Security, “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 less seen,” according to the state-run China Daily.
Officials in Shenzhen, Jinan, and Nanchang said that they would not implement the new rule due to difficulty in collecting evidence, according to the Morning Post.
Li Heping, a Beijing lawyer, told New York-based New Tang Dynasty Television that the law is “a problem that there’s no transition zone. For example, a car has inertia during movement. It needs a process to slow down and respond.”
A Financial Times reporter in China, Simon Rabinovitch, described his experience this week of riding in the back of a taxi cab. Li Hongbo, the driver, stopped abruptly when approaching a yellow light.
“It’s too dangerous,” Li replied to Rabinovitch when he asked him about it. “Get caught running two yellow lights, and your license gets suspended until you pass a road safety test.”
This week, in the city of Chengdu, it was reported that there was a four-car pileup after the first car abruptly braked at a yellow light.
A Weibo user posted that they ran into the back of another car because of the rule, according to NTD Television.
According to the Morning Post, another driver said on his microblog: “I was driving at a speed of 35 kilometers per hour (20 miles per hour). Unless I brake my car, it is impossible for me to stop before the line.”
A former police officer believes that the rule was implemented not for safety, but to create more revenue.
“I think this rule is totally for the purpose of getting more fines. Since China has less and less ways of fiscal levy, it wants to get more fines through increasing punishment,” the ex-police officer, who called himself Mr. Wu, told NTD.
Driving through red light has also become penalized. On a 12-point scale, running a red light is now a six, rather than a three like it was before.
According to the China Daily, if a driver gets 12 points in a year, they are required to take a seven-day training course and take a written exam to drive again.
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