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Shanghai Lawmakers to Vote on Draft Traffic Law

Some local lawmakers don't agree with the second draft of the city's traffic accident compensation law, saying that it doesn't include any punishment to pedestrians or cyclists who are responsible for traffic accidents.

Lawmakers will vote on the draft legislation, which calls for new mandatory car insurance for all drivers, today.

The new local law is based on the country's new national road safety law, which was enacted last May and favors pedestrians and cyclists' rights in a traffic dispute, legislators said.

"If the draft law is adopted, it will indulge more errant cyclists and jaywalkers, bringing severe consequences to local traffic," Yang Xingliang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai People's Congress, said during a legislative discussion yesterday.

He said it's unreasonable for vehicle drivers to be forced to pay compensation for colliding with pedestrians or cyclists if the driver isn't at fault for the accident.

According to the draft, drivers will have to pay up to 50,000 yuan (US$6,024) in compensation to any pedestrians or cyclists they collide with, even if the driver didn't break any traffic laws.

"The draft could easily confuse drivers, why do they have to undertake the payment without committing mistakes," said Li Mingxuan, another lawmaker.

As many lawmakers and local residents complained about this when the first draft of the law was introduced, lawmakers added a new clause requiring all drivers to own car insurance that offers a maximum payment of 40,000 yuan to drivers who crash into cyclists or pedestrians without breaking traffic rules.

Currently, the highest payment from car insurance is 100,000 yuan. That means if the draft is passed, the maximum payment from mandatory insurance would increase to 140,000 yuan.

Zhang Hao, a local car owner who manages a trade company, commented: "I can accept the new mandatory insurance but the new national traffic law has obvious loopholes."

"The new law doesn't effectively protect legal drivers' rights. It also indulges pedestrians and cyclists breaking traffic rules," she said.

(Shanghai Daily February 24, 2005)


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