BEIJING, Jan.6 (Xinhua) -- Chinese drivers are complaining about a new regulation that increases penalties for running yellow lights, with some doubting the new rule's legality.
Netizens have claimed that the rule runs contrary to the laws of physics, as drivers who are operating their vehicles at normal speeds cannot bring their vehicles to a full stop within seconds of seeing a yellow light.
Vehicles must come to a complete stop at yellow lights unless part of the vehicle's body has already crossed the line, according to a revised regulation from the Ministry of Public Security that took effect on New Year's Day.
In an online poll hosted by Sina Weibo, a major microblogging site, opponents of the regulation outnumbered supporters by almost 5 to 1, with over 40,000 people responding to the poll.
"The three lights serve their purposes respectively in accordance with the law. Treating a yellow light the same as a red one is unreasonable and could be legally contradictory," said Li Wei, chief lawyer at the Beijing Fada Law Office.
Yellow lights in China flash for just a few seconds before turning red, making it difficult to bring vehicles to a full stop in time. In addition, few intersections have visible countdown timers, making it even more difficult for drivers to figure out how much time they have to stop.
"There are so many intersections that do not have countdown screens to help drivers time their stop," said Wang Cheng, a law professor at Peking University.
Other experts have centered their opposition on the origin and legality of the revision.
Wu Bihu, another professor at Peking University, has filed a request for the details surrounding the revision at the Ministry of Public Security.
Sun Xiaoxia, a law professor at Fudan University, said the revision seemed to have come out of thin air, as there was no prior notice given to the public.
"The change is having a huge impact on citizens' rights and obligations. Why haven't there been any public hearings or efforts to seek opinions from relevant parties?" Sun said.
The Ministry of Public Security's Traffic Administration has pledged to remain open to reasonable suggestions regarding the change, as well as promised to announce more details regarding the implementation of the revised regulation.
The revision affects millions of people in China, as the country is home to 114 million automobiles driven by 186 million drivers, according to the ministry.
Officials from the ministry said drivers will understandably need time to correct their driving habits accordingly.
The changes have evidently already had an effect on traffic violations. The ministry said Thursday that failure-to-stop cases dropped by 66 percent year on year during the first three days after the revision took effect.
The ministry said the decrease indicates that the revision has been effective in regulating driving behavior and preventing accidents.
Authorities have tightened traffic regulations amid the explosive growth of the country's auto market in recent years.
Drunk driving became a felony punishable by jail in May 2011, with the number of drunk driving cases dipping dramatically following the change.
About 62,000 people died from traffic accidents in 2011, according to the State Administration of Work Safety, dropping from nearly 89,000 the previous year.
"The intention of the Ministry of Public Security is to reduce traffic accidents. But public affairs need to be handled according to the rule of law and be based on public opinion," Sun said.
BEIJING, Jan. 3 (Xinhuanet) -- A revised traffic regulation that took effect on New Year's Day and is being called much too harsh by some drivers.
A key complaint is that the revised rule raises the stakes for drivers who run yellow lights. Under the revision, running a yellow light would be treated the same as a running a red light and cost drivers a deduction of six points - half the 12-point limit - from their driver's licenses. Formerly, only three points were deducted. Full story