Legal experts propose law revisions after fatal bus plunge

Some Chinese legal experts have suggested harsher punishments for those who attack bus drivers when they are driving.

A crane vehicle lifts and retrieves the wreck of bus, which crashed with a car and plunged into the Yangtze River from a bridge, at the accident site in Wanzhou district, Chongqing, on October 31, 2018.

Some Chinese legal experts have suggested harsher punishments for those who attack bus drivers when they are driving after a fight between a driver and a passenger caused a bus to plunge into the river and killed more than a dozen on board.

At a recent case study session organized by the Supreme People's Court, one of the proposals raised by judges and legal experts is to revise the Criminal Law and list the act of "endangering driving security" as a criminal offense.

Recently, China has witnessed a rising number of bus accidents caused by passengers grabbing the steering wheel from the drivers, attacking or harassing them. In the fatal bus plunge case, which took place in Chongqing, a female passenger attacked the driver simply because the driver denied her request to get off at a non-designated stop.

During the SPC study session, some judges noted that many of the offenders only received suspended sentences because their actions failed to meet the stringent criteria of "the crime of endangering public security with dangerous methods."

The law's guiding role should be better played so that potential risks could be forestalled, said Yu Haisong, an SPC official tasked with handling criminal cases, adding that law revisions could be modeled on provisions related to the criminal offense of "endangering aviation safety."

Lin Wei, deputy president of the University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the consequences of committing crimes against bus drivers are much more harmful and severe, thus perpetrators should receive substantial punishment instead of "suspended sentences."

Hu Yunteng, a senior justice with the SPC, also proposed to impose heavier punishments if the crimes are committed on a highway or bridge, places which could see more casualties in the case of an accident.

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