A good move to make roads safer

China Daily (Canada) - - COMMENT -

Small car own­ers in Shen­zhen, Guang­dong prov­ince, can be ex­empted from pay­ing sub500 yuan ($81.38) fines if they agree to not drive their ve­hi­cles for a num­ber of con­sec­u­tive days. The new reg­u­la­tion is a good ex­am­ple of how to teach peo­ple good traf­fic be­hav­ior, says an ar­ti­cle in Guangzhou Daily. Ex­cerpts:

Many peo­ple would find the idea of not driv­ing their cars if they are ex­empted from pay­ing fines for vi­o­lat­ing traf­fic rules quite tempt­ing. So, it is ex­pected that there will be fewer cars on the roads once the new rule comes into ef­fect.

“Re­wards” are some­times more effective than fines in chang­ing peo­ple’s be­hav­ior. In some other coun­tries, vi­o­la­tions of traf­fic rules in­vite not only fines but also other forms of pun­ish­ment. For in­stance, of­fend­ers could be or­dered to do cer­tain hours of so­cial work un­der po­lice su­per­vi­sion. Such time-con­sum­ing and la­bo­ri­ous pun­ish­ments are bet­ter than fines to pre­vent peo­ple from vi­o­lat­ing traf­fic rules again.

In most Chi­nese cities, traf­fic rule vi­o­la­tors are only made to pay fines. But now Shen­zhen’s newrule is set to be­come a good ex­am­ple ofhowmi­nor in­frac­tion could change driv­ers’ be­hav­iors. Af­ter all, the ul­ti­mate pur­pose of im­pos­ing fines is not to in­crease gov­ern­ment rev­enue but to make our roads safer.

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