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May 27, 2013

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Jaywalking, running red lights lead to 48 deaths

A TOTAL of 48 people have been killed in more than 200 accidents this year involving either jaywalking or scooters and mopeds running red lights, Shanghai traffic police said yesterday.

Another 206 were injured in the accidents.

"It's quite astonishing," said a traffic police officer. "Some elderly people even jaywalk with their grandchildren when taking them home from school."

Traffic light violations have become so frequent in China that the phrases "collectively walking the red light" or "Chinese-style jaywalking" have been coined.

Traffic police have launched crackdown on jaywalkers and those running red lights.

Officers said they punished more than 263,000 cases, or about 720 per day, of jaywalking and other traffic violations last year.

Jaywalkers and those running red lights are fined 5 yuan (82 US cents) to 50 yuan.

Early this year, a middle-aged woman was detained seven days for punching a traffic police officer who tried to persuade her not to jaywalk in downtown Huangpu District.

Police said they will consider exposing jaywalkers in the media.

Although police catch many running lights, many more escape unpunished. Officers said that it is hard to punish everyone because some deny doing anything wrong or flee.

Police said they are also strengthening penalties on vehicles running red lights.

Drivers will have six demerit points deducted, up from three points, this year for running a red light. Each driver has 12 points and their license will be suspended if they lose all their points.

Meanwhile, more than 400 sets of surveillance cameras have been added at intersections to catch people running red lights.


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