Traffic Felonies Come Under Review

Qin Chuan

If one asks or orders someone else to drive a car in such a way that violates traffic regulations and thus causes a serious traffic accident, he or she will be taken to court.

That is the message in a new judicial document, which was released by the Supreme People's Court in Beijing and started to take effect yesterday.

A source from the Supreme People's Court said that the document aims to make clear a number of law terms regarding traffic accident cases.

It will help courts at all levels to better enforce relevant laws and deal with cases involving traffic accidents properly, he said.

The document was drawn up after the Supreme People's Court reviewed various cases of traffic accidents throughout the country, according to the source.

People suspected of being involved in traffic accidents, who remove victims from the scene in order to hide or abandon them and thus cause the victims further serious injury or even death, will be charged with murder or grievous bodily harm, the document explains.

Owners or passengers of vehicles involved in accidents, who ask or order suspects to leave the scene of the crime and thus leave victims to die, will be regarded as accomplices to the crime, the document emphasizes.

Those responsible for accidents that cause direct loss to public or private property will be imprisoned for over three years and less than seven years if they fail to pay a minimum compensation of 600,000 yuan (US$72,000), the document went on to say.

The same punishment will go to suspects in accidents that kill more than two people or injure more than five, the document adds.

Less than three years imprisonment or detention will be used as a punishment for those responsible for traffic accidents that kill one person or injure more than three, the document says.

It adds that people in control and owners of vehicles, who order or force others to violate traffic rules which then result in accidents will be punished as criminals.

Drivers who drive in the knowledge that their vehicles are not safe or do not have licence tags and then cause accidents that injure more than one person will also be severely punished, the document says.

Police documents show that 85.2 percent of all the traffic accidents that occurred last year were caused by careless drivers.

A report from the Ministry of Public Security early this year showed that traffic accidents in China killed 83,529 people and injured 286,000 last year.

Total direct economic loss resulting from traffic accidents last year amounted to more than 2.1 billion yuan (US$250 million).

(China Daily 11/22/2000)

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