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Drivers to Pay for All Accidents

Drivers who collide with cyclists or pedestrians will pay up to 50,000 yuan (US$6,024) for compensation not covered by insurance, even if they aren't at fault for the accident, according to a draft version of Shanghai's new traffic law.


If enacted, the draft legislation, which lawmakers released during a regular meeting of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai People's Congress yesterday, will hold drivers accountable for compensations in any accident they are involved in.


"This law will provide detailed rules in implementing the national road traffic safety law," Zhu Jimin, a committee member, said yesterday in explaining the legislation.


According to the draft, drivers involved in any traffic accident between vehicles and either cyclists or pedestrians, will have to pay up to 10 percent of any court-ordered compensation package not covered by insurance to a maximum of 50,000 yuan.


That compensation is compulsory even if drivers are not responsible for the accidents, the draft states.


The national law of vehicles-related road traffic safety, which took effect on May 1 of 2004, provides new standards for solving traffic accidents: Drivers have to pay compensation for any accidents with pedestrians or cyclists even if the latter caused the collision by breaking traffic rules.


But the national law sets no ceiling on how much drivers will have to pay in such cases.


Both of the two laws state that drivers don't have to take responsibility, if either cyclists or pedestrians "intentionally" caused accidents with vehicles such as a suicide attempt.


However, they don't define what constitutes an "intentional" accident. A law expert from the East China University of Politics and Law, who declined to be identified, commented yesterday: "Unfortunately, the draft just indulges the city's rampant errant cyclists and jaywalkers who are the potential accident-makers."


(Shanghai Daily January 7, 2005)

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