The bustling city of Shanghai is home to a whopping 24 million people, and this number is steadily growing. With rapid development, it's no surprise that the metropolis is considered one of China's most congested cities in terms of traffic.
Aiming to increase safety on the roads, a new regulation came into force Saturday - bringing with it strict rules that motorists must abide by.
But on day one of Shanghai's new traffic regulation, clearly many motorists were not prepared. Less than two hours in, police at a crossing detected 20 drivers flouting the rules.
"To be honest, we rarely wear seat belts while seated in the back, I don't think it is a big problem," one driver said. Another said he knew that kids under the age of 12 were not allowed to sit in the front, but didn't know they had to wear seat belts when seated in the back.
The new traffic rules are the strictest ever to be implemented in Shanghai. Under the sweeping crackdown, all motorists are now required to buckle up, while children under the age of four must sit in a special car seat. Eighty percent of the newly-added rules aim to improve safety while driving.
Mobile phones have increasingly become a distraction for many drivers. With this in mind, the new regulation bans the use of cellphones while behind the wheel. Those found guilty of defying the rules will now face punishment.
The new rules also aim to improve pedestrian safety. Motorists now must give way to pedestrians on zebra crossings. Shanghai has around 8,000 traffic cameras installed across the city, but police plan to increase this number over two-fold to 18,000 by year end.
Ma Junwei, a Shanghai traffic policeman, said they would use manpower and new technology at the same time. High-resolution cameras are becoming more versatile and are able to capture many types of offenses with a single camera.
But the police are quick to clarify that handing out punishment is not the sole purpose of the new rules.
Fang Hongfei, director of the Legislative Affairs Office of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, said they hoped that every resident would increase awareness in traffic safety. People will go from being constrained by the rules to respecting and safeguarding them consciously. Only by doing this, can people benefit from safer traffic conditions in the city.
An increased police presence on the streets is on the cards, to ensure the new rules' implementation.