Drivers in China Intentionally Kill the Pedestrians They Hit

It is better to hit to kill than to hit and injure.

That quote is a saying in China. I didn’t believe it either the first time I read it, but it’s quite true. When a driver in China hits a pedestrian, they don’t get out of the car and attempt to help the victim, but rather, drive them over 2, 3, 4 or 5 times to make sure they’re dead.

I immediately dismissed the story and rationalized that perhaps it was simply an urban legend with no firm evidence to back up the absurd claim. But after watching video after video after video of very cruel drivers running over innocent pedestrians with intent to kill, I had to succumb to the truth. But what is the truth? Unfortunately, poorly written legislation on vehicle-pedestrian accidents pigeon-holes drivers to choose murder over giving a helping hand because it’s cheaper.

What this phenomenon boils down to is dollars and cents. The victim compensation law in China is structured such that killing a pedestrian is cheaper than injuring them. Perverse ain’t it? The most you could expect to compensate a family for killing their loved one is about $50,000. But injure someone that makes it out alive, and you could face up to millions in lifetime healthcare costs.

Still doubting this story? That’s understandable. Your western view of of morality and human worth have made your ability to comprehend the possibility of this being true very difficult. This video from a few years ago shows a driver running over a little girl twice and then driving off. At least a dozen pedestrians pass by without offering a hand.

Here’s another example of how twisted this problem truly is. The driver crushes a 5 year old child and the first words out of his mouth are “How much do I have to pay?” The concern isn’t about the child’s well-being, but rather how much he will have to pony up to the family.

If you’re interested in reading more about this topic check out Geoffrey Sant’s article “Driven to Kill” on Slate.com.