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Beijing adopts much debated traffic rules
By Liu Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-23 00:25

The Beijing Municipal People's Congress Friday adopted a local implementation method to the Road Traffic Safety Law, requiring compulsory third-party insurance for all motor vehicles in Beijing.

The new scheme will go into effect at the beginning of the year.

A special social fund, created from the insurance fund, will be established to aid victims of traffic accidents in the capital.

Implementation of the method in the capital city will accord with the national regulation over the compulsory third-party insurance. It will be drafted by the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council and is expected to be approved by the end of this year, according to Wang Jiayan, a member of the Legal Affairs Committee of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress.

There is contradiction between the Road Traffic Safety Law and insurance regulations, sources said.

According to the current insurance regulations, insured vehicles will be given indemnity from insurance companies only when their drivers are responsible for accidents.

But the Road Traffic Safety Law, which went effective in May, prescribed that insurance companies should pay compensation within the range of compulsory third-party insurance when accidents involving vehicles occurred, resulting in casualty and financial losses.

"During the period from May to the time when the national compulsory third-party insurance regulation is adopted, courts will make the decision according to their understandings of the issue," Wang said yesterday.

But he predicted that the insurance values will possibly not be enough for compensation for traffic accidents even after the national regulation takes effect.

The insurance value fixed by Beijing-based insurance companies is ordinarily less than 100,000 yuan (US$12,100) but a driver will possibly pay compensation of 200,000 yuan (US$24,000) to relatives of victims in traffic accidents, or even more.

According to the method adopted yesterday, beyond the indemnity by insurance companies, other compensation will be paid by the motor vehicle part according to drivers' responsibility for accidents involving pedestrians or non-motorized vehicles.

The vehicle section will provide compensation with minimum figures according to national standards if drivers are not responsible for the accident at all.

There is no updated minimum compensation standard. The figure was 10 per cent of all compensation in the past.

As local legislation, the implementation method out of the national Road Traffic Safety Law, is able to be used as basis of judgments at local courts in Beijing, according to Wang.

Legislation of the method passed a public hearing last month, for the first time in the history of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress.

"The Standing Committee of the congress will further expand public participation in local legislation," Wang said.

He said he is advising that public hearings be held for every local legislative item related to residents' lives when they are discussed by legislators.

"We are also considering whether to broadcast public hearings live," he said

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