• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 2:21am
NewsHong Kong

Audit chiefs urge mandatory training courses for taxi drivers

Audit calls for compulsory courses, but taxi union says it would get in way of drivers' work

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 April, 2013, 4:39am

Audit chiefs have called for compulsory training courses for taxi drivers after it emerged that cabbies on average commit speeding offences 51 times more often than bus drivers and eight times more often than minibus drivers.

But a taxi union rejected the idea, saying it would hinder drivers' work.

The latest audit report tabled in the Legislative Council yesterday showed that taxis clocked up more than 1,700 speeding offences per 1,000 vehicles last year - a 37 per cent increase over 2011. This compared to 217 for minibuses and 34 for buses.

The report called for pre-service training courses for taxi drivers, imposing a maximum speed and installing electronic data recording devices, speed display devices and speed limiters.

The Transport Department said it had prepared a set of service standards for taxi drivers and would consider practicable measures to enhance safety.

Taxi Dealers and Owners Association president Ng Kwan-sing said the government should instead do more to curb illicit discounting that encouraged cabbies to drive fast to get more fares.

Drivers come and go and many of them work part-time. Such training would be a barrier for drivers to work
Taxi Dealers and Owners Association president Ng Kwan-sing

"Drivers come and go and many of them work part-time," Ng said. "Such training would be a barrier for drivers to work."

The report - which reviewed road safety measures - also urged police to buy more breath test devices to prevent drink-drivers walking free or being charged with lesser offences because of delays between taking roadside tests and more stringent tests that could be used in court.

The report said 53 per cent of drivers arrested for drink-driving escaped full justice as their alcohol concentrations had dropped by the time evidential breath tests were taken in a police station.

It said delays of up to 90 minutes were experienced in getting them to a station with a functioning machine. Of the 744 suspects arrested for drink-driving from January to October last year, 182 were released and 215 charged with a lesser offence.

The police force said it would now conduct weekly checks on the devices and would look at streamlining arrest procedures.


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

YES - Extra training for taxi drivers is URGENTLY needed as they are "professional" drivers but one of the worst offenders of traffic regulations.
How many times a day do we see taxis not using their indicator when changing lanes or turning, causing traffic accidents or near-misses by closing in and not allowing merging, occupying metered parking spaces without paying and the list goes on. It is a sad fact.
There should be regulation to void their taxi license when committing a certain traffic offenses within a given time. That would make them more responsible drivers following traffic regulations.
It's not that cabbies enjoy speeding or performing other reckless maneuvers but time for them is money. The more customers they pick up given a certain shift the more they make. Mandatory training class does not deter their will to speed, it's ludicrous. Who ever thought of this idea is empty-headed. On the other hand considering installing some speed recording devices is workable. The real threats are those that have multiple hand phones on their dashboards (discount cabs) when the driver multitasking receiving calls, jotting down their notepads and driving all at the same time, that's when man slaughtering occurs.
How about teaching them how not to use their horns; and how to look 2m beyond the hood to see an opening at the curb where they can pull over to pick-up/drop-off passengers instead of stopping and blocking traffic behind them and further adding to more horn noise?


SCMP.com Account