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Truck Drivers in China Face Risk of Excessive Traffic Violation Fines

Several excessive traffic violation fines given to truck drivers in China have caught the public’s attention.

On April 5, Jin Deqiang, a 51-year-old truck driver from Hebei province took his life because he received a 2,000 yuan (US$307) fine at a checkpoint because of a failed Beidou navigation connection inside his truck. The truck drivers in China usually make 200 to 400 yuan (US$31-$61) a day. In his suicidal note, he asked how a truck driver would know that the Beidou navigation was not working. He said in the past ten years of working as a truck driver, he didn’t make much money even though his health condition was deteriorating. He hopes his death will alert the officials to pay attention to the matter. He left behind his wife, three children and his mother.

Other truck drivers are experiencing similar issues with the Beidou navigation system. A Youtube video showed a driver sharing his experience. He said he was fined numbers of times for the bad connection. Even though he pays an annual maintenance fee for the system, he still wouldn’t know if the connection had been dropped as all the signals on the front panel appeared to be working. He said the authorities are using the navigation system as a tool to penalize the drivers while imposing the fine on the truck driver is not fair.

Another case happened in the northern mountainous region of China. A county was reported to have received 30 million yuan (US$4.6 million) or 1/3 of its annual revenue from traffic tickets. With no highway access, the county is the only path for local coal transportation. The area is very much underdeveloped so it looks to the law enforcement agencies for fiscal revenue. The county set up 10 traffic cameras on the main road within 40 mile stretch. The drivers are often tricked because of a sudden change in the speed limit and they have to pay 1,000 yuan (US$153) for each violation.

According to China’s National Business Daily, there are about 30 million truck drivers in China, and more than 90 percent are self-employed. These drivers not only have to deal with personal injury and accidents. They also have experienced excessive fines due to overloading, speeding and other violations.

1. Epoch Times, April 8, 2021
2. Sina, April 17, 2021