Dreadful drivers' bad and dangerous habits go unpunished

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 May, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 May, 2001, 12:00am

I would like to add my comments to the letter from B. Chen headlined 'Headlight-shy drivers put others at risk' (South China Morning Post, May 4).

It seems that Australia and other countries have got it all wrong.

Decades ago, the law in many overseas countries made it a criminal offence to drive without the proper use of the turning indicators on a motor vehicle.

In Hong Kong, drivers are permitted to drive their vehicles without any consideration for other road users, since turning without due warning or indication is not considered a road-safety hazard by the authorities.

Every day, one witnesses inconsiderate behaviour and downright selfish attitudes by drivers who change lanes, cut in and make turns at intersections without proper signalling to other road users.

These reckless actions cause other unsuspecting road users to panic, resulting in chain reactions, damage to vehicles, serious personal injury and even death.

There have been a number of cases reported in these columns of serious accidents being caused by drivers suddenly changing lanes or taking other reckless actions without warning.

In many road-safety-conscious countries, the non-use of indicators has long ago been found to be a major contribution to road accidents, and quite rightly, laws have been introduced so that inconsiderate drivers are jumped on immediately by police and 'booked' on the spot without hesitation.

Having been a member of an Australian road-safety committee some years ago, I am at a complete loss to understand why this blatant disregard for the well-being of other road users is allowed to go unpunished here.

However, in Hong Kong, when one sees other very serious safety hazards being permitted, such as screens being stuck over vehicle windows, large ornaments swinging wildly from rear-view mirrors and the 'zoo' of Disneyland characters that are allowed to totally block a driver's rear vision, it is no wonder that drivers are able to get away with their reckless habits.

These extremely dangerous practices are being completely ignored, yet the degree of opaqueness of the vehicle's glass windows seems to have become an issue recently and has therefore been regulated.

Would someone in authority be good enough to explain to us careful drivers, through these columns, just why such unsafe practices by these reckless and careless drivers are being allowed to continue?