Official vehicle licence plates phased out to curb traffic violations

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 February, 2009, 12:00am

Shanghai is phasing out official vehicle licence plates in an attempt to prevent government drivers from ignoring traffic laws, Mayor Han Zheng said yesterday.

'While in the street I have seen some cars with official licence plates, which were not fully respecting traffic rules,' Mr Han said in a webcast. 'As far as I am concerned this should be dealt with very seriously.'

He said the city government was introducing new regulations to tackle the problem, which were being implemented 'starting with the leadership'. 'Government officials can no longer use special plates. They cannot let police know this is an official vehicle,' he said.

'We have to strictly enforce the rules. I am sure this will result in a great improvement.'

Mr Han was responding to a question on officials' misuse of power from Ying Guairen, one of 12 netizens selected to meet him, who said it was common to see official vehicles jumping red lights or speeding.

Mr Han said he believed only 'a small minority' of the city's 100,000 civil servants were rule breakers, but they had a big impact on the public's perception of the government. He stressed he was committed to stamping out corruption.

'Whenever the law is broken, rules are broken, discipline is broken and it must be investigated,' Mr Han said. 'When problems occur they must not be hidden. Problems need to be dealt with, and it must be done transparently.'