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December 19, 2012

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Taxis without seat belts targeted

READERS are invited to send tips to Shanghai Daily if they find a taxi's seat belts missing or broken, as the city begins to check the belts out of concern for passenger safety.

Taxi companies are asked to add the belts and repair broken equipment soon.

The fines for violators range from 200 yuan (US$32) to 2,000 yuan for each cab, to be enforced next year.

The city's taxi watchdog said most of the taxis from the big companies have seat belts.

"About 10 percent of the cabs running on the city streets have no belts or broken ones," said Chen Zhaohui, an official with the Shanghai traffic law enforcement team.

There are about 50,000 taxis on city roads, officials said.

The taxi watchdog also reminded passengers to fasten the belts to ensure safety aboard cabs.

In October, a man riding in a taxi's back seat was killed in a rear-end collision when his head hit the touch screen installed on the back of the taxi's front seat.

The man who was killed was not wearing a seat belt.

As traffic officials began to consider removing the touch screens, others said that instead, passengers should wear seat belts.

"I just sit without even looking for the belt to wear," said a rider, surnamed Yu. "Sometimes there are even no belts."

Yu said drivers seldom remind passengers to wear safety belts.

During checks, traffic officials found some belts are hidden beneath the seats, while in other cases the belt sockets were useless due to a lack of maintenance.

"It seems like a small issue," said Yu Donghang, a local lawmaker. "But it reflects a key aspect of city management."

Traffic authority future plans call for a recorded voice reminder for passengers to buckle up when the taxi meter starts.

Passengers can write to Shanghai Daily at for report to be forwarded to the city's taxi watchdog for further action.


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