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Nifty Buckle Popular in China Tricks Cars Into Thinking Seatbelt is Fastened

Posted: 10/15/2014 6:01 pm

seatbelt holderGuangzhou traffic police are ramping up another safety campaign targeting drivers that don’t use seatbelts, a particular problem with the proliferation of a nifty little device that tricks cars into thinking a seatbelt is being used.

seatbelt holderThese devices have the metal fasteners part of the seatbelt, but not the strap. This way the car detects the seatbelt as being fastened, and turns off any warning lights or sounds.

As it is, these fasteners come in a variety styles. Check it out:

seatbelt holderseatbelt holderseatbelt holder

seatbelt holder

Eighty percent of Guangzhou drivers don’t wear seatbelts. The penalty, if caught, is RMB 50.

Photos: gaobe, beishang, safetybelt, jd


Whole Fleet of New, Safe School Buses Become Public Toilets in Zhejiang

Posted: 08/29/2014 9:45 am

abandoned school buses zhejiangCould this be another sign of over-investment in China, or the economy slowing down? A whole fleet of school buses, 52 to be exact, have been left abandoned at a lot in Wenling, Zhejiang Province. They’ve been sitting there, rotting, for a year because nobody is willing to buy them.

The buses were actually purchased by a group in Taizhou, Anhui Province for RMB 20 million. The group originally intended to start up a school bus company in Wenling, but the idea was abandoned after they realized nobody wanted the buses, according to the Yangtse Evening Report.

Since then, the buses have reportedly been used as “public bathrooms”.abandoned school buses zhejiang

It’s a shame the buses have been left unused, considering the dangers children face on their way to school. Public anger over lax safety standards reached its zenith after the deaths of 18 children in an accident in Gansu Province in November 2011. A total of 64 preschoolers had been crowded into a van with only nine seats when it crashed into an oncoming truck, also killing two adults.

Overcrowding was also cited in the deaths of 19 people, including 10 children, in an accident in October 2011.

As a result, local governments and schools were proud to show off their new school buses to address safety concerns. When a new series of school buses debuted in Chongming, Shanghai in February 2012, parent Zhang Zhongli expressed his confidence:

The new buses are sturdy enough that parents shouldn’t be worried about their children.

It’s unfortunate that more of these buses won’t be in operation.

abandoned school buses zhejiang

Photos: Yangze Evening Reports, People’s Daily Online


BYD taxi explosion in Shenzhen apparently not caused by faulty battery

Posted: 08/6/2012 5:44 pm

Many in Shenzhen have been nervous to take the new BYD electric taxis that are buzzing around town since a fatal accident in May.

On May 27, a speeding GT-R slammed into an e6-model electric taxi on Binhai Dadao in Shenzhen.  The taxi burst into flames, incinerating the two passengers and the driver. Suspicions were raised almost immediately that the battery inside the vehicle may have been faulty, with a representative from BYD going as far to say that there’s a “big chance” that leakage occurred.  That raised all kinds of questions, not the least of which was this: are BYD’s electric taxis – and electric cars in general – safe?

Well, we finally have an answer.  A report concludes that there was a short circuit inside the vehicle which caused the explosion, and not a leaking battery.  From the Shenzhen Daily:

“Within three to five seconds, the e6 battery, electric car was hit from behind by the Nissan GT-R sports car and then spun across three lanes of traffic, (before) the already damaged back end of the taxi slammed into a tree with such force that the tree sliced the taxi open for about a meter, from the rear bumper all the way through the rear seats,” Wu Zhixin, head of the expert panel and also deputy director of China Automobile Technology and Research Center, said at a news conference at Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center on Friday.

The impact compressed batteries inside the vehicle and caused a short circuit that started a fire inside the taxi.

“If the accident happened to a gas-powered taxi, the result might have been even more serious because gas-powered taxis are generally lighter than electric vehicles,” Wu said.

The Shenzhen Daily notes not everybody is convinced by the result, with some saying that it is “unacceptable”.  The families of those who died are also unhappy that BYD has never apologized for what happened.

As for the safety of electronic vehicles, it appears the public believes BYD will have problems no matter what caused the crash:

In an online survey that drew 4,349 respondents after the report’s release, 1,834 of the respondents said they would choose electric taxis to avoid the 2-yuan (US$0.32) fuel surcharge, while another 1,992 said they’d choose gas-powered taxis instead, for safety concerns because they didn’t trust the investigation’s result. The remaining 523 respondents said they’d ride in electric- or gas-powered taxis, because they didn’t believe such misfortune would happen to them.

It’s worth noting that senior executives and other large shareholders have dumped US$135 million in BYD shares from July 2 to August 1 this year.

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