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May 8, 2010

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Drivers stop for a look at irresistible pavilions

THE Shanghai World Expo may be drawing rave reviews from visitors, but the event is causing a major headache for traffic police.

Traffic on the Lupu Bridge, widely regarded as the best site for panoramic photographs of the Expo site, is often getting bogged down as some drivers stop their vehicles to take a few snapshots of the site.

Some people even lean out of car windows to take pictures while the vehicle is still moving, greatly increasing the possibility of accidents, said Zhou Ming, officer in charge of traffic patrols on the bridge.

Shanghai traffic police said yesterday that they had stepped up patrols on the bridge earlier this week to maintain traffic flow.

Traffic police said drivers will be fined 200 yuan (US$29) and have six demerit points deducted if they stop on the bridge. Several drivers have already been penalized, but police did not reveal the exact number.

Officers said drivers were either stopping or driving very slow in the lane closest to the Expo site in order to take pictures, especially at night when all the lights are on and it creates a spectacular scene.

"Once one car stops, the one behind tries to switch into the adjacent lane, which stops traffic in both lanes," said Yu Dalei, media officer of the traffic police. "It causes a chain reaction."

One driver who was caught told police that he couldn't resist stopping to enjoy the beautiful scene even though he knew "safety should come first."

Yu said a patrol team will rush onto the bridge as soon as a traffic jam is reported.

"Our job is to keep traffic moving smoothly," Yu added.

Yu said that the deduction of six demerit points is a stiff penalty as motorists that lose 12 within a year must take a seven-day course on traffic rules before being allowed to drive again.


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