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Chinese traffic laws: a joke

By MichaelM (China Daily) Updated: 2014-09-15 11:20

I've been studying the more than 1,000 traffic laws required to pass the written driver's license exam in China. The testing process is quite incredible. In the West, it is much easier to obtain a driver's license. You study the law, practice driving in a driving school (or on your own), take two exams (driving exam and written exam; written exam requires a score of 70 or more) and you get your driver's license.

In China, you spend weeks (if not months) going to driving school, can spend several hours there waiting for a car to practice your driving for 20 minutes or less, take several exams, are encouraged to bribe the examiner and your teacher or coach, study hundreds of laws, are required to make a 90 or better and you might get your driver's license, walk out the door and completely ignore everything that you just learned.

The most astonishing thing about getting a Chinese driver's license is, after you learn all of the laws, rules, punishments, procedures, and so forth, you walk outside and watch nearly every driver breaking all of the laws that you just went through such a long, arduous ordeal to learn. You'd think, by studying the laws that China is very strict in traffic control and accountability in obeying their laws. You very quickly realize, they are all a joke. Enforcement is almost non-existent (except for the occasional traffic police at major, busy intersections and the video monitoring in a very few places). 

It's amazing to me, coming from the West. In the West, we have a lot of traffic laws and the authorities are quite serious about you obeying those laws. They are enforced by police officers in police cars. They will quickly stop you and give you a ticket, for which you will have to pay a stiff fine. 

When westerners talk about 'freedom', they don't know how easy it is and how common it is in China to break the law. The rule of traffic law (for one) is a joke. You spend a lot of money. Go through rigorous testing to get your license and then, drive however you please with no fear that breaking the law has any consequences at all. Truly amazing!

The original blog is: http://blog.chinadaily.com.cn/blog-787069-22558.html

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