The Ministry of Public Security initiated a campaign this month to curb the problem of vehicles failing to give way to pedestrians in crosswalks.
The action will last until the end of this year, the ministry’s traffic management bureau said on July 13.
“Vehicles allowing pedestrians to go first is not only a matter of compliance with traffic rules and regulations but an important symbol of city civilization,” the bureau said in a statement.
The ministry intends to create “a safe, orderly, civilized and unobstructed traffic environment” before the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China later this year.
In recent years, a large number of crosswalk incidents－including 3,898 pedestrian fatalities－occurred across the country, arousing attention at home and abroad.
Ministry data show that from June 2014 to last month, there were 14,000 incidents in which vehicles struck pedestrians in crosswalks nationwide. Of those, 90 percent were blamed on vehicles violating traffic regulations.
“Local traffic control police should take the existing problems in crosswalk management seriously, and take a zero-tolerance attitude in investigating any illegal behavior involving vehicles,” the statement from the traffic bureau said.
The ministry said that during the initiative, public security departments will send more police officers and auxiliary police to patrol the streets, especially places with a large flow of people and crosswalks that are not governed by traffic lights. Police officers will strengthen their efforts at key intersections, it said.
The police will use a variety of tools for enforcement, including different kinds of recording devices. In addition, officers will coordinate with each other to flag down violators, according to the ministry, which said the effort is intended to deter illegal driving behaviors.
In addition, the police will organize public information activities to remind drivers about giving way to pedestrians and help them consciously obey the rules. The authorities will also improve traffic lights and monitoring of both vehicles and pedestrians.
He Zhiqiang, a news reporter at a television station in Wuhan, said: “I am in full support of the effort, which makes human life the priority and reflects a humanitarian approach to traffic management.”
Liu Zhicheng, a 67-year-old retired worker in Jilin, had a different perspective: “I think it’s impractical, because many pedestrians break the traffic rules to go across roads. They walk when the red lights are on. So it’s no wonder the drivers won’t let them go.”