I was surprised to hear that among a few new traffic safety laws to go into place in China as of January 1st, 2013, was a ban on using cell phones while driving. And according to a few different sources, the new rule has resulted in a sudden surge in Bluetooth headset sales in the country.
Over on Alibaba’s blog, the company points out that searches for Bluetooth headsets on its Taobao online marketplace shot up by 43.1 percent last week, which is over three times the amount of searches seen in the same time the previous year.
Similarly Shanxi News Online reports that in Taiyuan city many mobile stores say that Bluetooth headsets have been selling out after the new law went into place, with one store salesman saying he sold 40 on New Year’s Day alone and has no more in stock.
The punishment for being caught using your mobile phone while driving is a two-point penalty and up to a 200 RMB fine (about $32). Of course, as with most laws in China – especially traffic laws – these new laws really don’t mean anything unless they are enforced. And I’ll be surprised if they are.
Drivers can take solace in the fact that another strict new law prohibiting the running of yellow lights has been reportedly scaled back. Instead of the original six point penalty, drivers will now receive ‘warnings and education’. In other words, yellow still means “step on it,” just as it always has.