Don't run a yellow light? Chinese motorists attack new rule that 'causes accidents'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 January, 2013, 10:50am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 January, 2013, 5:34pm

Is yellow the new red? In China, running yellow traffic lights is officially illegal.

China’s new traffic regulation that went into effect on Tuesday bans motor vehicles from running yellow lights, but it has also left drivers across the nation confused, sceptical and even angry. 

Drivers who are caught crossing an intersection on a yellow light now face severe penalties. In the past, a driver who ran a red would lose three points, in a 12-point system (those who lose all of their points must undergo training and pass an exam).

Under the new rule, running a red or a yellow light means losing a whopping six points. Offenders would also have to pay a maximum fine of 200 yuan (HK$248), China’s People’s Daily reported on Tuesday .

Authorities believe this new rule will curb the number of traffic violations, but many drivers argue it will only create more chaos and congestion.

An editor from China’s Caijing Magazine shared on the publication’s official Weibo account on Tuesday that he had failed to stop before a yellow light three times despite his best intention to do so while driving.

“I was five metres from the line when the light suddenly turned yellow,” said the post, “but it was impossible to stop even though I was only going around 35km/h.”

Sun Yixuan, another Beijing driver, wrote on Weibo that he had crashed into the rear of a car that stopped abruptly for a yellow light.

“That car’s rear bumper and back doors were totally destroyed after the collision,” he said. “Fortunately both drivers were fine.”

Sun’s post has received more than 4,000 comments as of Wednesday.

“What’s the point of keeping yellow lights since they work the same as red lights now?” said one Weibo user.

Many believe the new rule will trigger more accidents and congestion.

Traffic authorities in Shenzhen said on Tuesday they weren’t punishing offenders yet because their system is not capable of taking photos of drivers running yellow lights. They said on their official Weibo that they needed more time to update their system and draft reasonable enforcement protocols.

In an unusual move, China's state Xinhua News Agency echoed drivers' oppositions on Tuesday. A post on its official Weibo reads: "This new rule is against Newton's first law of motion."

In a Weibo post titled “Xinhua Micro Comment”, Xinhua  lashed out at the new rule, quoting complaints from netizens.

“Netizens have complained the difficulty of stopping at the yellow lights. If all cars slow down as much as they can before the lights, it will create more traffic for the already congested roads.”

Then the author went on to criticise the new rule , “It’s against Newton’s law and we seriously demand a revision."