Amended traffic laws arouse complaints
It's China’s controversial amended traffic rules, where jumping a yellow light will now mean drivers lose six points on their license. But the Ministry of Public Security Department reports the good news that the number of traffic accidents caused by signal violations have dropped sharply after the rules came into effect on Tuesday. Traffic accidents in the capital Beijing were reported to have dropped by 10% on Tuesday from the previous day. But there’s also some bad news. Weibo users have complained that rear-end collisions are up, due to drivers trying to avoid jumping a yellow light. And many drivers have been voicing their frustrations with the new rules.
The initial impulse among many drivers in China has been to step on the gas when the traffic lights turn yellow, and that’s been the case for a long time.But as the rules have now changed, that type of reaction may cost a driver his or her license.
The revised traffic regulations stipulate that jumping a yellow light will now be treated in the same way as jumping a red light and will mean drivers lose six points from their driver’s licenses -- that’s half the 12-point limit. Previously, only three points were deducted for this type of traffic violation.
Some think it’s good for traffic safety."I think the revision is not bad. It’s safer for pedestrians and non-motor vehicles if cars and other motor vehicles have to stop at a yellow light."
But complaints have also been rolling in."It’s really difficult for taxi drivers to follow the new rule. If buses or trucks are in front of us, we can’t see the traffic lights. If they cross an intersection on a green light, which then suddenly turns yellow as we’re crossing, that’s six points just gone!"
Drivers complain that there will be more rear-end collisions when drivers suddenly brake to avoid jumping yellow lights."If you brake suddenly, it’s more likely the car behind will go into the back of you. So you have to rush through a yellow light."
If drivers of small cars have to brake when they see a yellow light and bigger vehicles behind them are still moving, the likelihood is a collision.
According to the Ministry of Public Security though, if a car has already passed the stop line when the traffic lights turn yellow, this doesn’t constitute a violation of the law.
Jiang Shan, director-general of Nanning Traffic Police Detachment, said," If it’s not possible for a driver to stop in accordance with the new traffic signal rule, due to considerations of safety, we will assess the situation based on the circumstances of the case."
To cope with the revision in the law, some experts have suggested installing a countdown traffic signal to help drivers better assess when they need to stop at traffic lights.
Traffic police are reminding drivers to focus on the road and maintain a safe distance from vehicles in front of them and to slow down when approaching traffic lights.