In the universal language of traffic signals, red means stop and green means go. Far too many drivers in Hong Kong insist on testing the first principle and there is scope for raising penalties to further deter lawbreakers. Legislators will today consider a proposal to change the punishment for red-light jumping from three demerit points and a $450 fine to five points and $600. Fifteen demerit points within two years - or three such violations - would lead to licence suspension. This represents the least that could be done to address a public safety problem that shows few signs of abating, despite the installation of several dozen hidden cameras at the worst-affected intersections. For the past three years, drivers running red lights have been involved in roughly one accident per day. Casualty rates are also on the increase. Higher penalties alone will not solve the problem, of course. Almost every resident in Hong Kong has witnessed light-jumping but few can remember seeing a driver being cited. Better enforcement is essential. And so is having real cameras at all the so-called black-spot intersections. So far, only a quarter of the boxes installed at these places have cameras inside, although the proportion is set to rise to 75 per cent. The possibility of getting away with it just tempts drivers to try their luck. A university opinion poll shows that support for the changes is strong. Raising the fine to $1,000 or more also seems acceptable - after all, the far less dangerous violation of littering carries a $1,500 fine. But this option should be kept in reserve. Testimony at today's transport panel hearing is sure to include professional drivers saying increased penalties will bring them undue stress. The government and legislators should not be swayed. Drivers who are not breaking the law have nothing to fear, and the safety of passengers and others on the roads come first. A related concern is the irresponsible behaviour of minibus drivers in Hong Kong, in particular the less-regulated red minibus franchises. Other measures advocated by transport officials may help, but only if there is follow-up. These include requiring all 4,300 minibuses to install speed monitors, display safety hotline numbers and provide drivers' licence details. But experience with similar speed devices on about 500 green minibuses shows that many drivers simply switch them off. The new rules will mean little unless there are spot checks and penalties for tampering. Attention was focused on these issues in a vivid way in October, when two minibuses running red lights collided with each other and another vehicle. The accident claimed two lives and injured 18. In the aftermath, insurers sent a strong message about the unacceptability of such recklessness by raising premiums for minibus licensees. The transport panel has a chance to send a similar message today, one it should not pass up.