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Taiwan bill to fine drivers NT$6,000 for not yielding to pedestrians passes 1st reading

Fine of up to NT$36,000 if a pedestrian is injured or killed because a driver failed to yield

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Incident in which taxi failed to yield to pedestrian on a zebra crossing in Chiayi City in 2021. (Chiayi City Police Bureau images)

Incident in which taxi failed to yield to pedestrian on a zebra crossing in Chiayi City in 2021. (Chiayi City Police Bureau images)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A draft amendment to traffic laws that would raise the penalty for drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians to NT$6,000 (US$195.21), and NT$36,000 in the event of injury or death, passed its first reading in Taiwan's legislature on Thursday (Dec. 22).

The Legislative Yuan's Transportation Committee passed an amendment to the Traffic Management and Penalty Act (道路交通管理處罰條例) that will raise the maximum fine for motorists who fail to yield to pedestrians to NT$6,000. In addition, if serious injury or death results from a driver failing to yield to pedestrians, their driver's license may be revoked.

The American media outlet CNN Travel on Dec. 7 claimed that Taiwan has "battlefield-like" traffic conditions, and cited a Facebook page that labeled Taiwan as a "living hell for pedestrians."

Although the act already has a provision that punishes drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians, the law has been criticized as too lenient. Currently, it only imposes fines of NT$1,200 to NT$3,600, and the law only applies to designated pedestrian crosswalks instead of all intersections used by pedestrians.

Under the proposed legislation, drivers who do not yield to pedestrians will face fines up between NT$1,200 and NT$6,000. The public will be able to report infractions to highway authorities or the police.

The committee also approved a provision stating that if a motorist does not yield to a pedestrian, and they suffer an injury or death as a result, fines of between NT$7,200 and NT$36,000 will be imposed. In addition, in the event the pedestrian suffers an injury, the motorist's driver's license will be suspended for one year and if the pedestrian is seriously injured or killed, the driver's license will be fully revoked.

In order to avoid danger to public security caused by detached parts when the car is driving on ordinary roads, provisions stipulate that if the car parts, equipment, and attachments are not secure or fall off, then the car owner will be fined between NT$1,000 and NT$6,000 and ordered to make repairs, or will be prohibited from driving on certain roads.