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Police turn up heat on drivers
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Traffic police in southwest China are offering drivers raw chili peppers at highway service stations to prevent them from falling asleep at the wheel, a local newspaper has reported.


Police in Chongqing Municipality launched the offer as they feared drivers might become drowsier during spring, the Chongqing Evening News reported.

The peppers are available at service stations along with herbal balms to help keep drivers refreshed, the report said.

The report said the chili peppers have proved popular with drivers--mostly natives of China's Yunnan, Sichuan and Hunan provinces where hot chilis are a local favorite.

Police can also require drivers to take a rest of more than 20 minutes if they have been at the wheel continuously for more than four hours, according to China's traffic laws.

China has topped the world for 10 years for the number of people killed in road accidents. In 2007, about 89,000 people were killed in traffic accidents, nearly 105 times of that in 1951 when only 852 people died, according to a report by the Ministry of Public Security.

(Shanghai Daily March 12, 2009)

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