BEIJING, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- China reported a dramatic decline of traffic violations and road accidents in January, with deaths from running traffic lights and overspeeding falling.
The death toll from running traffic lights and overspeeding fell 13.3 percent and 71.2 percent respectively year on year, according to data from the Traffic Management Bureau under the Ministry of Public Security (MPS).
The ministry reported that there were about 1.37 million cases of ignoring traffic lights in January, marking a 40 percent year on year drop.
There were 285,000 cases where cars were overspeeding by at least 50 percent, representing a 32.5 percent year on year fall. There were 14,000 cases of improper use of license plates during the month, which was a 71.5 percent drop compared with the same period last year.
Running red lights, overspeeding and improper license plate display were largely to blame for road accidents.
The number of violations dropped due to revised traffic rules, which came into force on Jan. 1, according to the ministry.
Under the revision, running yellow lights will result in six penalty points, doubling the previous punishment. The penalty for improper license plate display is now 12 points.
According to China's current regulations on driving licenses, if a driver's penalty points add up to 12 or more within 12 months, he or she is required to attend a seven-day training session and take a written exam before getting back behind the wheel.
The new rules were deemed the "harshest-ever" by Internet users upon introduction and also criticized as too harsh.
"The Ministry of Public Security has urged training institutions to adjust their exam-oriented program and focus more on practicality during teaching," said Li Jiangping, deputy head of the ministry's Traffic Management Bureau.
The number of people licensed to drive cars in China exceeded 200 million as of the end of 2012, an increase of 26.47 million year on year, according to the MPS.