Crash death driver not wearing his seat belt

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 January, 2009, 12:00am

A minivan driver was thrown out of his cab and killed yesterday in Sha Tin when he lost control and crashed into the kerb, apparently with his seat belt unfastened.

Ng Ho-wing, 31, was on the Tsing Sha Highway going towards Tai Po Road at about 7.50am when the accident occurred. He was thrown out the right door and caught between the van and a fence, tearing his body into two pieces. The van travelled 400 metres before stopping.

Ng was to get married this year and had been working extra hours recently, driving the minivan for a transport company by day and delivering newspapers by night. His fiancee and family members performed religious rituals at the site.

Acting Superintendent Wong Kin-wing, of the New Territories South traffic unit, said: 'The seat belt is not damaged, so we suspect the driver didn't have it fastened when the accident happened.'

Ringo Lee Yiu-pui, the president of the Institute of the Motor Industry of Hong Kong, said it was highly unusual to have a body thrown from a vehicle and torn in half in an accident: 'The van must have been travelling very fast,' he said.

The speed limit on the Tsing Sha Highway is 70km/h. No tyre marks indicating a sudden attempt to stop were found and the crash site was not a traffic black spot, police said.

Chung Kam-wa, chairman of the Junior Police Officers' Association and a traffic officer, said many drivers and passengers still neglected to fasten their seat belts.

'It is a very bad habit and totally negligent ... to drive without fastening the seat belt,' he said. Police officers prosecute such cases without hesitation, he added.

The fine is HK$320 for driving a private car, taxi or light bus without a seat belt.

Under the Road Traffic (Safety Equipment) Regulations, drivers of light buses and goods vehicles can be fined HK$5,000 and jailed for three months if they commit the offence.

Belting up

The number of seat-belt prosecutions against drivers and passengers has dropped slightly in recent years. In 2006, there were: 17,165

In 2007, there were 15,770 and in the first nine months of 2008, there were 12,723

Source: Hong Kong Police