Opinion / From the Press

More time needed to test new traffic rules

( Updated: 2013-01-04 22:29

It takes a considerable period of time to test if a new regulation is rational or not.

Stricter traffic rules unsettle many drivers, suggesting that the process of making China's roads safer may be a painful one, says an article in Beijing Youth Daily. Excerpts:

The new rules, implemented from Jan 1, reduced traffic accidents by about 20 percent in many cities on New Year's Day compared with Dec 31.

No matter how controversial they are, their positive effect in cutting the number of accidents has been obvious so far. But then traffic is often much lighter over the New Year holiday in Chinese cities, so whether the new rules can meet their objective remains to be seen.

The harsh punishment for running a yellow light — six points deducted from the 12 allocated to a driving license — saw several tailgating accidents in some cities. However, most drivers are gradually adjusting to the news rules, with traffic at major intersections flowing more smoothly.

In this sense, the rules at least make drivers respect a yellow light as a warning signal before the red light. Drivers will no longer regard a yellow light as simply an extension of a green light.

Under the new rules, drivers must control their speed when passing through traffic lights. If they obey the regulations, pedestrians will be better protected. Before the new rules took effect, most drivers accelerated at a yellow light, making junctions some of the most dangerous places for pedestrians.

But those making the rules should seek more advice from the public, and test the rules for a certain period to see the effects.

Traffic lights should be equipped with countdown indicators for green, yellow and red signals to give drivers more time to prepare.

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