PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 April, 2008, 12:00am

Should rear-vision CCTV be mandatory for trucks?

I strongly agree with those who have called for the mandatory installation of rear-vision CCTV on trucks ('Cameras urged after man killed by reversing truck', April 15). I have come to this conclusion after considering three aspects, namely, the safety of other road users, convenience and usefulness.

I think most of us still remember the tragedy in 2006 when a father and the young daughter he was carrying were killed by a reversing truck that did not have CCTV installed. Although at the time many people argued that the government should legislate to force all trucks to install this equipment, officials felt it would be better to try to persuade truck owners to get the cameras. However, here we are again, with another fatal traffic accident.

The existing CCTV rear-vision technology has a wide range and can enable drivers to note any kind of obstruction as they reverse. Therefore, it is time for the government to make it mandatory for trucks to install this equipment. This can help save lives.

The cost of putting in this equipment is quite reasonable. I think most truck owners will be able to afford to install it.

Peter Yu, Yau Tong

It saddened me to read about the death of another man in a traffic accident involving a reversing truck.

How many people have to be killed before the authority feels the need to legislate to require the trade to employ another person to watch the back while reversing, or to install a camera to allow the driver a view from the rear?

A number of deaths from reversing vehicles since 2006 has given cause for concern, but the authorities have failed to act because of objections from business interests. Maybe truck owners want a government subsidy to install the cameras. Do officials think saving money is more important than saving lives?

The relevant government department must share the blame for these accidents, because it has failed to press ahead with the necessary legislation.

S. Lo, Central

Hong Kong has probably the highest per capita rate of deaths by reversing vehicles in the world. Has anyone thought about improving driving classes?

G. Cabral, Macau

On other matters...

At a dinner table recently, I was astounded to hear one of my friends, aged over 70, say: 'The government pays for one round of golf for me a month. This year the government gave me a free driver.' He was referring to the HK$708 per month 'fruit money' he qualifies to receive, and the HK$3,000 the government gave to 'fruit money' recipients in this year's budget.

It is hard to understand why, while a lot of old people are struggling in these days of high inflation, the government wants to offer rich over-70s this fruit money. Even tycoons like Li Ka-shing are entitled to it. Of course, I am sure Mr Li declines to take it, but many well-to-do senior citizens see it as their right to take.

It is even stranger that no political party seems bothered by this abnormality. In fact, if the political parties have their way, golfers over 70 can look forward to the government paying for two rounds of golf for them a month instead of one.

Alex Woo, Tsim Sha Tsui

The Development Bureau wants a special committee to oversee the design of open space dedicated for public use.

The committee's main task would be to supervise the design of open space based on a set of design guidelines. In the future, all such open spaces proposed by developers will be vetted by the committee before the design is finalised.

This reminded me of the role of a similar committee, the Advisory Committee on Appearance of Bridges and Associated Structures. Its task is to vet the design of footbridges and ensure they are aesthetically pleasing or at least blend in with the environment.

Does that ring an alarm bell? The problem with open space is not design-bound, but rather both a management strategy and a contextual problem. Look at the way HSBC allows its main ground-floor piazza at its headquarters to be used on Sundays and public holidays, and compare that with Times Square. Apparently, different modes of management strategy can be employed to allow flexibility in the use of public open space. This issue needs to be reviewed together with private property and the laws of easements.

The more problematic issue is a contextual one. Most of these open spaces are normally contained within a large residential development. Allowing public use will significantly affect the value of the property and might even infringe on the rights of owners. This might mean that all proposed open spaces contained within private residential developments cannot be used for that purpose, as they contradict the interests of the different stakeholders.

Whether this special committee will be of any use will greatly depend on what roles and responsibilities it is given. All Hongkongers who wish to have more 'people's space' should be encouraged to provide input.

H .C. Bee, Kowloon Tong

Besides the obvious lack of self-motivation that many of today's young people possess, there are two more reasons why students' standard of English ability has fallen.

First, since 1997 a huge influx of migrants from across the border, who largely did not benefit from any prior practical English education, flooded the system. Those migrant children immediately dragged down overall scores, and even after new children were born here, their parents still cannot help with English homework, thus little improvement has been made.

Second, the overall workload of teachers has consistently increased over the years. There are always new programmes that must be implemented, new directives to be met, more extra-curricular activities to organise, always something to clamour for both students and teachers' attention. This tremendous workload undoubtedly has affected the overall quality of teaching.

In athletic terms, if you want to excel at a particular sport, then you must practise. Plain and simple, children have little or no time.

Hong Kong children are so involved in extra-curricular activities that overzealous parents think will give their children an advantage, they have become 'masters' of nothing, but rather mediocre at everything.

James Warren, Tsz Wan Shan