Tougher penal­ties for driv­ing that could take peo­ple to an early grave

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - MORE THAN 1,000 CARS

took the ini­tia­tive to give way to an am­bu­lance dur­ing the evening rush hour in Shen­zhen, South China’s Guang­dong prov­ince, on Fri­day. As a re­sult, the am­bu­lance was able to con­vey a crit­i­cally ill pa­tient to hos­pi­tal in less than three min­utes. Bei­jing News com­ments:

A video show­ing the au­to­mo­biles giv­ing way to the am­bu­lance, one by one, has gone vi­ral on­line, as it is in sharp con­trast with most peo­ple’s per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence.

Many driv­ers can­not tol­er­ate even a slight com­pro­mise to their “rights” on the road. Once be­hind the wheel, these driv­ers seem to suf­fer from se­lec­tive am­ne­sia, for­get­ting the ba­sic rules of the road, and any eti­quette or courtesy that they may dis­play at other times.

Even though the traf­fic laws and reg­u­la­tions stip­u­late that au­to­mo­biles should give way to pedes­tri­ans and non-mo­tor ve­hi­cle users, nearly 4,000 peo­ple have lost their lives on pedes­trian cross­ings in the past three years, 90 per­cent of which were the driv­ers’ re­spon­si­bil­ity, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Public Se­cu­rity.

In March, in Ji­nan, East China’s Shan­dong prov­ince, a car in­ten­tion­ally passed an am­bu­lance and im­peded its progress for more than two min­utes af­ter the am­bu­lance car­ry­ing a pa­tient suf­fer­ing a se­vere head in­jury over­took it. The car driver changed from one lane to an­other and kept brak­ing. Af­ter the am­bu­lance over­took the car again by driv­ing on a sec­tion of the side­walk, the car driver low­ered his win­dow and ver­bally abused the am­bu­lance driver.

The driver of the car re­ceived just three penalty points and a fine of 200 yuan ($29).

China has more than 200 mil­lion ve­hi­cles on its roads and more than 320 mil­lion driv­ers. It is high time the traf­fic laws and rules were amended to in­crease the sever­ity of penal­ties meted out to driv­ers for dan­ger­ous driv­ing.

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