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China: Around The Nation

Rooftop balcony driving school in China forced to close after photos posted online

Student drivers had better not confuse the brake pedal with the accelerator, shocked internet user quips

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 June, 2017, 3:22pm
UPDATED : Monday, 19 June, 2017, 3:44pm

A rooftop driving school that operated on the seventh-floor balcony of a commercial shopping mall in Central China was shut down after photos went viral on Chinese social media.

Photos circulated online showed a big ‘S’ curve painted in white on the rooftop balcony of Zhongshan Square, a commercial complex in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, Hubei TV reported.

At least three white training sedans parked on the roof were owned by the Ming Tao Driving School, the TV report cited the school’s manager as saying.

Most of the driving students were office workers in the area, and the balcony was rented from the building’s management office, said the manager, whose name was not given.

The balcony was previously used for parking, so safety should not be a concern, he claimed.

The cars were transported to the roof by lift, he added.

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Hou Jiankun, an official from the traffic committee of Jianghan district who ordered the school to be closed, told the television station that operating a driving school on the rooftop was dangerous, especially as most students had never driven before and could easily loose control of their vehicle and drive off the roof and land on the busy street and car park below.

According to local regulations, a driving school should cover an area of at least one hectare (10,000 square metres).

The driving school photos quickly sparked a heated discussion online, with most internet users expressing shock about the safety risks.

“My best wishes to the students there,” one Weibo microblogger wrote. “Without a security fence of any kind and just advertising billboards for protection, they better not confuse the brake pedal with the accelerator.”

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It’s not the first time a rooftop driving school has been uncovered in China. Last month, a driving school opened on the roof of a factory under construction in Taiyuan in Shanxi province.

The factory later said that the original plan was to use the roof as a parking lot once the building was completed, and the driving school was ordered to close.