Random Comments


China has some fascinating and awful driving laws. Any infractions cameras catch are sent to an app on your phone, which you can pay via WeChat or AliPay. People violating traffic laws are publicly shamed on screens around the city. And apparently, you can get a 200 RMB fine (~$30, or ~1% of an average monthly salary) for having sun visors down while driving through a tunnel.


That is fascinating, but it’s not awful. Sounds fantastic assuming of course there aren’t flaws and perfect drivers don’t get their faces pasted up there.


Oh wow I never thought about that but you are right.


Yes and no. I’m all for ease of payment for fines. Public shaming, sure, but that will of necessity include pretty much everyone who drives a scooter (which isn’t the case). On red lights, they go. While you’re supposed to drive on the right, they’ll drive on the left. Traffic is busy? Drive on the sidewalk.

“Sounds fantastic assuming of course there aren’t flaws and perfect drivers don’t get their faces pasted up there.” It’s China. What do you think?

And having to pay for having visors down in a tunnel is absolutely absurd.

Add in China’s social credit system and the removing of rights for violations, and yes, it is awful.


I do think fines should be 100% and automatic for anyone in the US driving in a tunnel, at dusk/night, or in the rain without their headlights on. It’s an adjacent and similar problem where I think automatic and total enforcement would be just dandy.


Absolutely! 100% ! I’m from Florida and it rains pretty much every day during the summer. The number of people who don’t have their lights on is staggering! If this was automatically enforceable and easily paid, I’d have no problem.

But getting fined for driving though a tunnel with lights on and visors down (because it’s bright outside) like happened to my coworker (and as the aforementioned app shows) doesn’t make any sense.


It makes perfect sense to me. When you drive a car you are taking your life and the lives of others into your hands. Driving is a very serious activity. Think about the way airline pilots behave, or at least the way you think they behave. They have very specific procedures and checks for everything. That is how a driver of a car should behave. Putting up the visor and checking the headlights on is part of the procedure of entering a tunnel. Just as much as putting on the seatbelt is part of the procedure for getting in the car in the first place. If you mess it up, you aren’t taking driving seriously enough, and there should be some sort of corrective measure taken.


I mean, I want people fined if they fail to use a blinker correctly, turn into the wrong lane, run a stop sign, or speed on any residential road without exception.

Ideally every traffic law is 100% automatically enforced, and all of those laws are reasonable. Speed limits should be raised on many freeways, but probably lowered on most residential roads.

I’ve love it if any car that broke the newish 20MPH NYC speed limit was immediately and permanently banned from New York.


It isn’t analogous, though. Having visors down doesn’t reduce visibility. Forgetting to put up visors when you’re going through a tunnel doesn’t place others at an elevated risk. It doesn’t make you less able to drive. It increases opportunities for you to pay. In the US, such a fine would go to local governments. In China, you bribe the cop to make the problem go away.

These fines are focused at drivers of cars. Not the majority. Fuck all happens to drivers of scooters.


Sure. Even here, I want different and much-relaxed laws for scooters and bikes. Motorcycles and cars are the death-dealers. They should be terrifyingly regulated.


reasonable is doing a lot of work in the phrase “all laws are reasonable”

Reasonable to whom? There are plenty of good faith disagreements on what the law is or should be, even in the slightly more narrow subset of laws that regulate traffic.


I mean, we can argue all day about which traffic laws are reasonable and which are not reasonable. As for the visor in the tunnel specifically, I’m kind of ambivalent. Still, having it up can only be better than having it down, so why not force people to have it up? It’s not hard to do, just put up the visor. Lives are on the line, so just do it.

The US has a lot of driving laws that are not perfect, and I’m sure China and every other country does as well. The point I’m making, and that Rym seems to agree with, is that perfect and absolute enforcement is good.


For traffic? There are at best a handful of laws that are even remotely debatable as unreasonable.

Speed limits on freeways should generally be increased. That’s one. But what else? Most of our core driving laws are already reasonable.


No! Nonono! Asia doesn’t need relaxed scooter laws. They’re allowed because that’s how you do. China has laws about how scooters should drive, but nobody gives a shit because they’re not enforced.


We have a good faith disagreement about what is reasonable right here in the post above the one to which I’m responding, involving visors in tunnels.


I’d be willing to get rid of the visor law. It’s a bit silly.

But if it is the law and a driver doesn’t know that, it’s a sign that the driver is incompetent to drive in the first place.

An example in the US. Most American drivers seem to have no idea which lane to turn into in various circumstances. They should in every case be fined.


I think there is a communication problem here. I think that ruffas is talking about this kind of scooter:

And Rym is talking about this kind:


Scott, you’re expecting China to do what is in the best interest of its people. Is that something you actually believe?

Yes, I mean a motorized-two-wheeled vehicle.


I’m mostly but not 100% in agreement. There are plenty of times in the normal course of driving where the law says one thing but pragmatism says another. Perfect enforcement and perfect obeyance of the letter of the law would result in massive massive increases in traffic.

An easy example is someone stopping as far left as they can to make a left turn against oncomming traffic, in a one lane street during traffic. Convention states, if there’s enough room to pass this driver, do so as he may have to wait for a while. The law states you cannot pass on a single lane road. In perfect enforcement land, we just get a ton more traffic as this happens all the time to everyone.


I don’t consider an increase in traffic a problem. You want to drive a car that pollutes the earth and kills people, you fucking sit in traffic. Deal with it. Don’t like it? Get a bicycle.