Business elite must obey traffic laws

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 December, 2012, 3:45am

The report on parking violations in Central ("Chauffeurs more afraid of boss than parking fine", December 17), describes chauffeurs of private vehicles unwilling to move along when ordered by the police.

Drivers say their employers would happily pay the parking fines, a measly HK$320 to HK$450, on their behalf rather than move. You quoted a police officer who said that chauffeurs tell officers, "You ticket me; my boss will pay. If I don't wait here, my boss will yell at me."

While this illustrates the total disregard many vehicle owners have for road regulations, it is also an example of how the police are allowing vehicle owners to set the agenda on our streets instead of using all the tools at their disposal to ensure that the owners and their employees do not cock a snook at enforcers.

Could Commissioner of Police Andy Tsang Wai-hung let your readers know how many times officers have asserted their authority under Cap 374C - Road Traffic (Parking) Regulations, Section: 61 Penalty for neglect of traffic directions? It says that when a police officer or traffic warden in uniform "is engaged in the regulation of traffic on a road" any driver or pedestrian "who neglects or refuses to obey any direction of the police officer or traffic warden commits an offence and is liable to a fine of HK$2,000''.

I would hazard a guess that the response will be even fewer than the three tickets issued under the Motor Vehicle Idling (Fixed Penalty) Ordinance.

A fine of HK$320 for illegal parking plus a further HK$2,000 for refusing to obey an officer would certainly make parking in off-street facilities a more attractive proposition for all but the most obdurate vehicle owners. In addition, failing to obey directions of a police officer or warden is an offence under the Road Traffic (Driving-offence Points) Ordinance, Cap 375, incurring three demerit [driving offence] points.

In spite of the 2016 projected opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge that will allow hundreds of additional vehicles to enter our road system every day, the police and Transport Department are taking no steps in preparation for the onslaught.

There is an urgent need for a review of the road traffic regulations with particular regard to parking offences. The driving-offence points system, currently covering only road safety offences, must be extended to cover serious parking violations and the police must stop pussyfooting around our business elite.

Mary Melville, Tsim Sha Tsui