Speeding around the world series - China

With its crowded streets and clogged roads, China might seem an unlikely place to get a speeding ticket, but China has a lot of road deaths and the government is cracking down on bad drivers, with speeding and alcohol a major focus.

China relies heavily on speed cameras to detect speeders, so rather than being pulled over by a traffic cop with all lights flashing, you’re likely to receive a ticket in the mail with a demand for payment if you’re caught speeding.

Or perhaps not, because the Chinese have come up with some innovative ways to cheat the system, with drivers going to bizarre lengths to hide their license plate numbers. One woman is even reported to have plastered a sanitary pad over her number plate to change it! In similar style, a Porsche driver in Shandong province totally failed to fool the coppers by changing the numbers on his number plate with toothpaste. Crude and not so effective.

The enterprising Chinese are never one to miss an opportunity and one company has gone into business creating stickers to place over your number plate to fool the constabulary. Very clever until you get caught, when you face the prospect of 15 days in prison, losing your license and an 1800 Yuan (A$400) fine.

 
Maximum fine in A$
Maximum speed
Length of motorway
/person (mm)
Cars per 1000 people
Interesting facts
Top selling vehicle (2014)
China
$455
120 km/h
62.58
120
Dodgy number plates make speed camera evasion common.
SAIC-GM-Wuling Hongguang
 
China
Maximum fine in A$
$455
Maximum speed
120 km/h
Length of motorway/person (mm)
62.58
Cars per 1000 people
120
Interesting facts
Dodgy number plates make speed camera evasion common.
Top selling vehicle (2014)
SAIC-GM-Wuling Hongguang

But it doesn’t end there. Some Chinese truck drivers are obviously big fans of James Bond. Inspired by the flipping number plates on Bond’s Aston Martin DB5, they’ve installed similar remote controlled devices that can change a number plate in seconds.

“It’s really convenient and economical too,” one Guangzhou salesman gushed, not to mention totally illegal. Now, now, don’t go getting any clever ideas!

According to a report in The Guardian, the prospect of fines and jail time doesn’t seem to deter China’s drivers when the prospect of being caught is so remote.

"More than 50% of cars caught on camera for speeding and other offences either cover up their plates or use a fake licence plate," a traffic policeman in the Yangjiang, Guangdong province told Beijing Youth Daily. "Our chances of capturing them is next to nil."

A variation on dodgy plates is using fake military number plates to pass yourself off as a member of the People’s Liberation Army. The Chinese military are notorious for doing what they like on the roads, with police reluctant to pull them over for speeding or any other offence.

However the government is now attempting to crack down on fake military number plates and military corruption using embedded electronic technology, according to the state-run news agency Xinhua.

Check out our other blogs in the series, Speeding around the world series - Germany.

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