China recently increased the penalty for running yellow lights: offenders stand to lose fully half of their 12 “points” (if a driver loses all 12, he/she has to go through training and retake a driver’s exam) and must pay up to a 200 yuan fine.
Some have interpreted the new regulation, which into effect yesterday, to mean that drivers must brake abruptly upon seeing yellow, which seems like a dumb reading of the law. No cop would possibly ticket someone for going through a yellow… right?
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.”
Indeed, as it is currently worded, the law says that only drivers who have passed the “stop line” are allowed to proceed through the intersection when the light turns yellow. Otherwise, they must “stop.” Yellow lights, then, may well effectively now be red.
Of course, if you don’t even slow down at a yellow, the CCTV-13 newscast embedded here would like to show you what can happen. Bodies fly. And this is why the new regulation has come into effect.
(We’ve featured at least of of the clips on an episode of Traffic Light; it’s the one set to R Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly.”)