Reporter Chen Jialing / Taichung Report
Taiwan’s traffic is called “Pedestrian Hell” by the international media. Japanese media even visited the streets of Taiwan to report on Taiwan’s traffic conditions under the title “Pedestrian Hell” (Pedestrian Hell). The report even quoted the governments of Japan and Taiwan. Statistical data show that the per capita number of traffic accident deaths in Taiwan is 6 times that of Japan. We have also witnessed the fact that vehicles on the streets of Taiwan do not yield to pedestrians and the police bill them.
The Japanese media “Mainichi Shimbun” actually visited the streets of downtown Taiwan on the 23rd. At an intersection, they saw a truck turning right and did not give way to pedestrians who were passing the zebra crossing. They risked passing by the pedestrians and were immediately stopped by the police to issue a ticket. .
According to statistics from the Road Traffic Safety Committee of the Ministry of Communications, the traffic accident death rate in Taiwan is 4 to 6 times that of other OECD countries (US, UK, Japan, Korea, etc.). Taking Japan, which has a population five times larger than Taiwan, statistics from the Japanese National Police Agency indicate that the number of traffic deaths in Japan in 2022 will be 2,610, a record low, and the number in 2021 will be 2,636. The number of traffic accident deaths in Taiwan (January to November 2022) is 2,825, which has already surpassed the annual death toll in Japan.
The Police Department implemented traffic law enforcement. From May 1st to May 21st, 14,514 cases of “non-stop yielding to pedestrians at intersections” were banned, an increase of 8,058 cases from 6,456 cases in the same period last year, an increase of 124%. The minimum penalty amount is calculated at 3,600 yuan, and the penalty amount reaches more than 52 million yuan. There were 5,842 more bans on non-signatured intersections that did not stop in accordance with signs, lines, and signals, an increase of 3,632 compared with 2,210 in the same period last year.
The country that is “as bad” as Taiwan’s traffic fatalities is South Korea. According to the data released by the WTO, in 2010, the traffic accident death rate per 100,000 people in South Korea was 11.1, and that in Taiwan was 14.3. However, one year later, South Korea will drop to 5.26 people in 2021, while Taiwan still has 12.67 people.
Why can South Korea do it? According to relevant reports, the key to South Korea’s progress lies in the implementation of “pedestrian priority roads”, which greatly widen pedestrian walkways and restrict vehicle traffic. In the Facebook fan page “I am a Taiwanese [email protected]”, some netizens shared before-and-after pictures of road planning in South Korea. For example, the streets near Ewha Womans University had 2 lanes and no physical sidewalks in 1996, but only one left in 2018. Driveways, sidewalks are widened and protected.
Another important reason for the decrease in the death rate from traffic accidents in South Korea is to “promote traffic safety education for all”. The state sets standards and compels elementary school to high school to learn. Teachers must compile teaching materials and receive training to thoroughly implement traffic education for schoolchildren.
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