Bad drivers come into focus
( 2003-11-24 10:15) (China Daily)
The swelling number of Beijing's bad drivers is coming under increased scrutiny after 600 traffic police and 460 traffic cameras have been added to the city's enforcement ranks.
About 120,000 drivers were stopped for violating traffic regulations the week before. They are blamed for causing the traffic chaos in the city.
According to a survey conducted by a leading Chinese website, nearly half of the 4,400-plus respondents chose traffic violations as one of the three top factors that lead to traffic congestion.
More than 70 per cent of them selected the poor design of the road system and one-third of respondents complained that there was too much road construction.
Hu Wenbin, a spokesman for the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau, said the ongoing campaign is a major push to ease the city's annoying jams.
Hu said his bureau had increased the number of police to direct traffic at major intersections during rush hours and expanded the number of areas it monitored closely, in addition to dispatching more police in the evenings.
Moreover, from next Monday, the bureau will work with other traffic management authorities in neighbouring provinces to curb the entrance of overloaded trucks into Beijing.
Zhang Jingchun, also with the bureau, said the overloading of trucks is a major cause of traffic congestion because they breakdown easily and are involved in many accidents.
He recalled a serious traffic jam caused by overloading at an expressway to Beijing that backed up traffic for 44.6 kilometres. It took two days and three nights to clear.
"It is common to see trucks carrying 30 to 50 per cent more freight than allowed, and some trucks that are able to transport 12 tons will try to carry up to 40 tons of freight," said Zhang.
According to statistics from the bureau, nearly one-third of traffic accidents are caused by overloaded trucks, with more than 2,300 accidents reported between January and October this year, killing 314 people and injuring 1,764.
Zhang said his bureau has set up five checkpoints surrounding the city to stop overloaded trucks from entering.
Trucks breaking loading standards can be fined as much as 30,000 yuan (US$3,600), according to a notice issued by the Beijing Traffic Commission.
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