WeChat 'likes' help traffic violators escape penalties, sparking debate

Updated 2018-04-27 15:10:06 Ecns.cn

A traffic police officer monitors a driver of posting a statement on WeChat Moment.

(ECNS) -- Traffic police in Southwestern China's Sichuan Province have introduced a new measure to help deter traffic violating drivers and cyclists.

People caught breaking certain rules, including illegal parking, driving in the wrong lane, or driving against traffic, can avoid punishment by accumulating 10 likes on the social networking platform WeChat.

"I parked my car in the wrong place in Leshan tourist area, breaking a traffic regulation. I now totally understand that illegal parking is wrong and will never do it again. Please give me a 'like' on the Moment. Don't violate traffic rules." After posting the "statement of repentance" on WeChat Moment, which allows a user's friends to read them, a driver got 20 "likes" and local police returned his license.

In just three days, more than 10 drivers who broke traffic regulations in Sichuan avoided penalties by accumulating enough online praise. One driver said the new method was not only a lesson for himself, but also a warning to other drivers.

The practice has received plenty of attention online, triggering hot debate, as some netizens approved and others questioned the legal grounds for such a move.

This penalty aimed only at minor violations, said the police office in Dazhou City, adding that violators can choose other penalties.

"Punishment is not the end. Ensuring people's safety on the road means more," a police officer said.

Gathering positive feedback was only one consequence of bad behavior, local police said. Drivers who broke traffic regulations were also required to experience traffic duty, in addition to being fined according to related laws.

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