China has issued a new regulation on foreign automobiles and drivers in an effort to improve road traffic safety, according to the Ministry of Public Security (MPS). The new regulation will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2007.
The existing law dates from 1989 but is seen as outdated for dealing with rapidly growing trade and traffic, the ministry said.
A large number of foreign passenger and freight vehicles cross into China at border zones for short periods, the ministry said.
Foreign vehicles temporarily entering China must be covered by automobile liability insurance and automobile safety and technical inspection certificates.
The regulation also requires foreign vehicles to use designated areas and routes and leave China by a certain date.
Statistics from the MPS show that in 2005, vehicles driven by foreigners caused 95 traffic accidents leading to 28 deaths and 90 people injured.
Taking into account all road accidents in China during the year, , a total of 40 foreigners died along with 198 injured.
Foreigners visiting China for a short period must either drive automobiles brought from outside China or rental cars. Authorized rental cars are compact models.
Foreigners holding an overseas driving license can obtain a temporary driving permit after being trained in China's traffic law and regulations.
The new regulation will govern day-to-day foreign vehicles and drivers in China. Foreign journalists driving in China during the 2008 Olympics will be treated as "special cases", the ministry said.
China will adopt the standard International Olympic Committee practices of convenience, the ministry said.
(Xinhua News Agency December 13, 2006)