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December 3, 2013

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Illegal lane switching will now incur fines

Illegal switching of lanes by drivers is an irritant that is adding to the city’s traffic woes, road safety officials said.

Lane switching is common in Shanghai, especially among taxi drivers, who cut lanes casually for business. Most of them drive aggressively or switch lanes illegally at the entrances and exits of elevated roads.

Shanghai traffic police said they will strengthen the enforcement of law and punish errant drivers instead of just warning them, especially during rush hours.

Officers said now drivers caught switching lanes illegally will be fined 200 yuan (US$32.8) and deducted three out of the total 12 merit points.

In China, traffic violators are fined and/or have points deducted. A driver has 12 penalty points and those who have 12 points deducted in a year will have their licenses suspended.

“Illegally switching lanes has been a long-term problem among taxi drivers,” said Gu Xinshi, a Dazhong taxi driver with 20 years of experience.

“But there has been a general improvement in the manners of taxi drivers, and there is less honking than before.”

Other common violation of traffic regulations are: not fastening safety belt for which there is a 50-yuan fine and 2-point deduction; talking on cellphones while driving that involves a 2-point deduction and a 200-yuan fine; and  those who cause traffic congestion due to minor accidents will now be fined 200 yuan.

Elevated road congestion

Shanghai’s elevated roads handle heavy traffic load from 7am to 7pm, and there was no difference between rush and non-rush hours, police said.

The traffic flow on weekends is also increasing as vehicles with non-Shanghai plates use the elevated roads.

New drivers who usually take public transportation to work also tend to test their driving skills during weekends.

Traffic police on the road surface and on the elevated ways will coordinate when traffic on a main elevated road is jammed over 200 meters due to the congestion at an exit. They will give directions to road surface traffic and give priority for diversion of vehicles from the exit of elevated ways.



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