Why this probably won’t work in the United States.

As the number of car owners in China increases by the year, up nearly 200 percent just over the past 10 years, local authorities are finding it challenging to introduce and enforce traffic rules.

To wrap my mind around how many new cars are on the road in China, in 2011 China had around 100 million cars. In 2021, there were over 300 million cars. As of the beginning of this year, the United States only has 290 million cars, and we’ve been driving for decades.

Point being, there are a lot of new Chinese drivers.

One problem China has is parking, more specifically where and how to legally park.

According to a Reddit post I came across on /r/mildlyinteresting, to enforce parking laws, such as not parking within the lines, some Chinese parking authorities are trying out a new, suction cup, and GPS tracked device that attaches to your door, calling out and shaming parking offenders for their crimes.

This device they put on your car if you don’t park inside the line
byu/instantpuppycloud inmildlyinteresting

According to the original poster,

“This device has a timer and GPS tracker on it. You need to pay the fine to have it removed. The city charges you by how many days it’s been on your car and, if your bill accumulates too high, they can find you via GPS.”

And here’s a video (linked here) I came across on Douyin with parking authorities from Jintan, China explaining how the device works and demonstrating how it attaches to an offending car caught parking on the grass.

In the United States, if you don’t park correctly on a public street, you get a parking ticket.

So, why don’t Chinese parking authorities just do that, issue a ticket instead.

According to comments in the Reddit thread, this parking device not only fines you, more importantly it plays off the concept in Asian societies of “saving face” and the desire to not be shamed .

Whereas in Western societies people often refrain from doing something because of guilt guided by our internal moral compass (often Christianity and the fear of not going to Heaven) in Chinese culture, the focus is more on avoiding shame or external judgement and social consequences.

In other words, a fine won’t disincentive bad parking behavior in China as much as the shame associated with driving around with a suction cup device on your car.

A close up of the parking suction cup meant to shame bad parkers in China

“Look at the bad driver!” other fellow Chinese drivers will think.

“Shame! Shame!”

That’s basically a nightmare for a Chinese person.

Contrast this concept in the United States.

“He**, in the United States I could see people trying to accumulate them as a badge of honor,” /u/AuxonPNW commented.

“In the US, people would park outside the lines just to get one,” /u/blueavole added.

“In the US, people would have 15 of them on their car and not give a f***,” /u/ZenSven7 replied.

As an American, I’d have to agree.

Like a lot of parking devices, we’d also find a way to drill/scrape that thing off, and we’d put off paying the fine, even if it increased, for as long as possible.

But as for people in China, these shame-based systems seem to be effective.


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