China's Fatal Attraction With Cars

A whole generation of new, novice drivers in China is hitting the streets. They are called benbenzu, but nicknamed 'road killers.'
May 24, 2004, 5am PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"Around the country, traffic accidents killed more than 104,000 people last year — nearly 300 a day. The fatality rate in the United States is less than half that, even though the nation's traffic volume is far higher... Benbenzu drivers are a big part of the problem. In Shanghai, they were responsible last year for 33% of the city's traffic accidents. About the same proportion of those that resulted in death were attributed to the benbenzu... The United Nations has warned that if China's per-capita car ownership were to match that of the West, the nation would need to produce 650 million vehicles to meet demand and would consume more metal and oil than the world could supply."

Thanks to Chris Steins

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Published on Saturday, May 22, 2004 in The Los Angeles Times
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