<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN"> <HTML><HEAD> <META http-equiv=Content-Type content="text/html; charset=unicode"> <META content="MSHTML 6.00.6000.16640" name=GENERATOR></HEAD> <BODY> <DL style="PADDING-RIGHT: 10px; BORDER-TOP: rgb(243,243,243) 5px solid; PADDING-LEFT: 10px; PADDING-BOTTOM: 10px; WIDTH: 950px; PADDING-TOP: 5px"> <P><SPAN style="WIDTH: 630px"> <DIV id=Position style="PADDING-BOTTOM: 4px; WIDTH: 630px; PADDING-TOP: 0px; BORDER-BOTTOM: rgb(0,102,153) 1px solid"> <H2 style="COLOR: rgb(0,0,0)">Domestic Affairs </H2></DIV> <DIV style="BORDER-RIGHT: rgb(153,153,153) 0px solid; BORDER-TOP: rgb(153,153,153) 0px solid; MARGIN-TOP: 10px; MARGIN-BOTTOM: 10px; BORDER-LEFT: rgb(153,153,153) 0px solid; WIDTH: 628px; BORDER-BOTTOM: rgb(153,153,153) 0px solid" align=center><!--AdForward Begin:--><!--AdForward End--></DIV> <DIV id=Title_e style="PADDING-RIGHT: 0px; PADDING-LEFT: 0px; PADDING-BOTTOM: 10px; PADDING-TOP: 20px"> <H1 style="COLOR: rgb(0,0,0)">Behind the wheel, civilized becomes barbaric</H1> <H6>By Huang Xiangyang (chinadaily.com.cn)<BR>Updated: 2011-04-06 17:23</H6></DIV> <TABLE style="BORDER-TOP: rgb(153,153,153) 1px dashed; FONT-SIZE: 11px; MARGIN-LEFT: 20px; PADDING-TOP: 5px" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=600 border=0> <TBODY> <TR> <TD align=right width=220><LINK href="cts2009style_e.css" type=text/css rel=stylesheet> <DIV style="WIDTH: 468px; HEIGHT: auto"><IMG height=26 src="ctsarticle_comments.jpg" width=26 align=absMiddle> <A class=black href="javascript:docmtend()"><STRONG>Comments</STRONG>(<SPAN id=show_count1 style="FLOAT: none; COLOR: rgb(153,0,0)">11</SPAN>)</A> <IMG height=26 src="ctsarticle_print.jpg" width=26 align=absMiddle><A class=black href="javascript:Print()" target=_top><STRONG>Print</STRONG></A><IMG height=26 src="ctsarticle_mail.jpg" width=26 align=absMiddle><A class=black onclick="javascript:window.open ('http://app3.chinadaily.com.cn/webdev/PageRcmdToMail.shtml?url='+document.location+'&amp;title='+document.title, 'newwindow', 'height=380, width=480');" href="http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/opinion/2011-04/06/content_12281553.htm#"><STRONG>Mail</STRONG></A></DIV></TD> <TD><IMG src="ctsA.jpg"></TD> <TD class=black width=248><A href="javascript:doZoom(16)">Large</A> <A href="javascript:doZoom(14)">Medium</A> <A href="javascript:doZoom(12)">Small</A> </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></P> <DIV id=Content style="FONT-SIZE: 14px; PADDING-TOP: 10px"><!--enpproperty <date>2011-04-06 17:23:32.0</date><author>Huang Xiangyang</author><title>Behind the wheel, civilized becomes barbaric</title><keyword>China, traffic, car, road, accident</keyword><subtitle></subtitle><introtitle></introtitle><siteid>1</siteid><nodeid>1036722</nodeid><nodename>Domestic Affairs</nodename><nodesearchname>2@webnews</nodesearchname>/enpproperty--><!--enpcontent--> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>Each day on my way to work I am amused by the street-side cardboard poster carrying the awkward-sounding English slogan: "Civilized Chaoyang, Magnificent with Me". For I could barely perceive any sign of a civilized society&nbsp;- not only in the immense district, but in Beijing at large&nbsp;- as far as road traffic is concerned.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>On this land of wonders, green light does not guarantee a safe passage through the zebra crossing for pedestrians. Under the world's most bizarre traffic rules, vehicles are allowed to drive through the zebra crossing to turn right at any time, even when pedestrians are passing. I have to thank God and marvel at the miracle that I am still alive after years of crossing these streets, sometimes escaping by a hair's breadth from right-swerving vehicles running toward me at breakneck speed.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>But this state of survival brings me little comfort. For I have been haunted by the cacophony of random honking that seems inescapably everywhere. When cars are reduced to a snail's pace in a traffic jam, they honk. When they race against each other on an expansively wide street, they honk. When they nearly knock down people in bicycle lanes, they honk. Sometimes a driver honks the horn for no obvious reason at all - as if he just wants to show off his wealth of owning a posh BMW or Mercedes to his pitiful and less fortunate countrymen who still have to rely on two legs to move around.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>But there is something even worse. Sometimes the experience on the road can turn from irritating to deadly. More than 100,000 people die on roads in China each year, roughly the same amount as the total death toll in the Iraq war. A large portion of road accidents are caused by drunk driving, which has prompted the authorities to launch a nationwide crackdown on the practice. Violators are subject to punishments ranging from a fine of 500 yuan ($77), having their license revoked, to 15 days in police custody.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>Yet these measures seem to have brought no deterrent to drivers brought up in a country famous for its drinking culture. As an avid viewer of a Beijing TV law program at noon, I have seen countless drunk drivers - men and women, young and old - caught red-faced, stuttering out funny excuses for their offense. Few have shown any sense of shame. Day-to-day exposure to these ugly scenes of failure of laws would make anyone&nbsp;- no matter how well-educated and cultured&nbsp;- to utter obscenities.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>China's economy may have taken off, as reflected in the fast-rising figure of car owners. But it is still a long way to go for a car culture to take root in this country. As long as there is a lack of respect for life from those sitting behind the wheel, as long as the law fails to free the general public from the fear of being run over by speedy vehicles on the street, this society remains barbarian, no matter how "civilized" it aspires to be.</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px">&nbsp;</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left><TR bgcolor="#dddddd"><TD width="4%" align="right"></TD><TD width="96%">Denis 2011-04-07 05:08</TD></TR><TR><TD>&nbsp;</TD><TD>As a foreign car driver in this country I can tell you itis just as scary being a car driver, most days I wonder if I am safer in my car driving, in a Taxi, or walking - non are any fun if you enjoy living. Yes the drivers here are absolute idiots, but motor bike riders are far far worse, without doubt everytime I drive my car and venture through a GREEN light, checking every direction possible, a moto will sure enough all of a suddent appear in front me, they have no brains at all, I am convinced they have no idea that a 2 ton car can not stop in the space of 1 cm. <BR>&nbsp;</TD></TR> <TR bgcolor="#dddddd"><TD width="4%" align="right"><IMG src="http://comment.chinadaily.com.cn/images/btn_face.gif"></TD><TD width="96%">no license 2011-04-07 05:04</TD></TR><TR><TD>&nbsp;</TD><TD>What about all of these people who pull the license plate from their car and then do whatever they want? There must be more enforcement on the streets. Cameras are helpful, but there must be more street level enforcement. <BR>&nbsp;</TD></TR> <TR bgcolor="#dddddd"><TD width="4%" align="right"><IMG src="http://comment.chinadaily.com.cn/images/btn_face.gif"></TD><TD width="96%">grb 2011-04-07 03:46</TD></TR><TR><TD>&nbsp;</TD><TD>The worst drivers in the world.......... <BR>&nbsp;</TD></TR> <TR bgcolor="#dddddd"><TD width="4%" align="right"><IMG src="http://comment.chinadaily.com.cn/images/btn_face.gif"></TD><TD width="96%">Facts 2011-04-07 01:41</TD></TR><TR><TD>&nbsp;</TD><TD>The problem is that there is not sufficient number of traffic police to ensure traffic rules are followed by motorists and pedestrains. <BR>&nbsp;</TD></TR> <TR bgcolor="#dddddd"><TD width="4%" align="right"><IMG src="http://comment.chinadaily.com.cn/images/btn_face.gif"></TD><TD width="96%">David 2011-04-06 22:22</TD></TR><TR><TD>&nbsp;</TD><TD>There are many more:<BR>1) Driving in wrong direction;<BR>2) driving without rear lights;<BR>3) occassionally people ignore traffic lights;<BR>4) coming out from side road without checking any oncoming traffic;<BR>5) heavy vehecles and slow cars occupying the fast lane;<BR>6) cutting lanes willfully;<BR>7) most taxi drivers speeding; cutting lanes; stop for customers on and off almost at any place any time without considering road safety.<BR>8) driving on ther shoulder;<BR>9) ..............<BR>Everyone is hurrying to somewhere. Funny!<BR>The police department never bother about all these. So, what are they employed for? Without enforcement no one will abide the law. <BR>&nbsp;</TD></TR> <TR bgcolor="#dddddd"><TD width="4%" align="right"><IMG src="http://comment.chinadaily.com.cn/images/btn_face.gif"></TD><TD width="96%">fred 2011-04-06 21:15</TD></TR><TR><TD>&nbsp;</TD><TD>Its not only happen in China. Other parts of the world also have the same problem with traffic lights and zebra crossing and children crossing. <BR>&nbsp;</TD></TR> <TR bgcolor="#dddddd"><TD width="4%" align="right"><IMG src="http://comment.chinadaily.com.cn/images/btn_face.gif"></TD><TD width="96%">Chinalover 2011-04-06 20:32</TD></TR><TR><TD>&nbsp;</TD><TD>I just passed 3rd ring road at Liangmehe Bridge.<BR>2 sports cars raced about 100 Km/h for about 1 km, just showing off.<BR>Luckily I had passed the road on my bicycle - it is really scaring with all these upperclass show off, killing sometimes innocent pedestrians and cyclists <BR>&nbsp;</TD></TR> <TR bgcolor="#dddddd"><TD width="4%" align="right"><IMG src="http://comment.chinadaily.com.cn/images/btn_face.gif"></TD><TD width="96%">ganzhuolin 2011-04-06 20:22</TD></TR><TR><TD>&nbsp;</TD><TD>Behind the wheel they become Emperors. And behave like emperors.I have seen the same kind of foolishness and ignorance displayed by Chinese drivers from the mainland in foreign countries...<BR><BR>Only tougher penalties and suspending the drivers' license will make any impression. <BR>&nbsp;</TD></TR> <TR bgcolor="#dddddd"><TD width="4%" align="right"><IMG src="http://comment.chinadaily.com.cn/images/btn_face.gif"></TD><TD width="96%">bern 2011-04-06 20:19</TD></TR><TR><TD>&nbsp;</TD><TD>Traffic rules ought to be changed so that no left turn or right turn are allowed when it is time for pedestrians to move. Allow the turning vehicles to go first, then it is the pedestrians and the straight moving vehicles next. In many cases, drivers seem determined to scare the pedestrians to death. In traffic accidents like that, drivers should be charged with manslaughter with deadly weapon. <BR>&nbsp;</TD></TR> <TR bgcolor="#dddddd"><TD width="4%" align="right"><IMG src="http://comment.chinadaily.com.cn/images/btn_face.gif"></TD><TD width="96%">Alain 2011-04-06 18:52</TD></TR><TR><TD>&nbsp;</TD><TD>So true! Although Chinese people seem nice, once they are driving, most become complete idiots! </P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>&nbsp;</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left><TR bgcolor="#dddddd"><TD width="4%" align="right"></TD><TD width="96%">Marius 2011-04-06 17:42</TD></TR><TR><TD>&nbsp;</TD><TD>I could not agree with you more </TD></TR></P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left>&nbsp;</P> <P style="FONT-SIZE: 14px" align=left></TD></TR></P></DIV> <P></P></SPAN> <P>&nbsp;</P> <P>&nbsp;</P></DL></BODY></HTML>