Flashing traffic-light warnings needed, says union

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 May, 2005, 12:00am

Hong Kong should introduce a traffic-light system that warns drivers of imminent changes to lights before increasing penalties for drivers who run red lights, a transport union says.

The Motor Transport Workers General Union also called on the government to speed up the introduction of red-light cameras.

Chairman Lee Wing-seng said mainland cities such as Shenzhen used flashing lights to alert drivers that lights were about to change.

'We demand that the government install more traffic facilities like flashing green lights, to let drivers know how much time they still have before the light turns yellow. The flashing function can serve as a countdown to the red light,' he said.

Mr Lee made the remarks after meeting Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works Sarah Liao Sau-tung.

'If the number of offenders remains the same or even goes up after the flashing green lights have been installed, then we will have no objection to the heavier penalty,' he said.

The government plans to present motions at the Legislative Council on June 15 to raise the penalty for jumping a red light from three penalty points to five, and to increase the fine from $450 to $600.

Mr Lee said Shenzhen's green lights flashed six times in three seconds before turning yellow. At many intersections, signs indicate the number of seconds remaining before a change. Hong Kong also lagged behind Shenzhen in installing red-light cameras, he said.

'We were told earlier that 20 cameras had been installed and today they told us eight more had been installed. Some drivers may be mistakenly accused of running red lights if [prosecution relies on the eyesight] of traffic policemen. We hope the government can install more cameras faster,' he said.

Mr Lee said 816 red-light cameras were installed on 599 roads in Shenzhen, but the Hong Kong transport chief earlier said the number of cameras would only be increased to 96.

'Dr Liao only tells us the city will learn from overseas examples, and I do not understand why it cannot copy the model from the mainland,' he said.