Opinion / Editorials

Wary of yellow lights

(China Daily) Updated: 2013-01-04 08:13

The widespread controversy arising from a traffic regulation that extends severer penalties to drivers running yellow lights highlights the need for traffic authorities to conduct a timely review of the revised regulation and take measures to increase its operability.

According to the new rule that came into force on Tuesday, drivers caught crossing an intersection on a yellow light will be treated the same as those running a red light and lose six points. Losing 12 points within a year means a driver will need to take new training courses and pass an exam. Under the old regulation, drivers received no penalty if they crossed an intersection on a yellow light.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, fewer traffic violations have been reported since the implementation of the new regulation, a result that is used to justify its claim that the rule is aimed at curbing such violations.

However, decreased traffic violations should not be an excuse for the traffic authorities to turn a blind eye to the chaos and inconvenience that the new rule has caused drivers. The fact that many drivers have recounted on the Internet a rear-end collision while trying to stop before a yellow light or failing to stop before the light changed to yellow shows the lack of concrete measures from the traffic authorities to avoid the occurrence of such accidents in its efforts to press ahead with the stricter traffic rule.

The new rule has also caused doubts over the necessity of preserving yellow lights since they now function the same as red lights.

Bad driving habits are the cause of many accidents. Any efforts aimed at changing such bad habits should be welcomed, especially at a time when the country has an ever-growing number of private vehicles on the road. However, any measures to this end should by no means become a source of new trouble and inconvenience.

Even if increased penalties for running yellow lights are reasonable, the authorities should install a countdown signal at every intersection to leave drivers time to prepare for yellow lights.

However, the increased punishments should remind drivers that they must be focused on the road while driving, keep a safe distance from other vehicles and practice good driving habits.

(China Daily 01/04/2013 page8)

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