Government must ensure Hong Kong has better drivers

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 March, 2016, 5:31pm
UPDATED : Monday, 21 March, 2016, 5:31pm

Let us hope that the additional cameras (“40 new red light cameras to combat rise in traffic deaths”, March 17) do more than just inspire one of Harry’s better cartoons; but, sadly, I doubt it.

What is required is a comprehensive and coordinated programme of education, warnings and prosecutions.

First, the Road Users’ Code should be revised; in particular, its instructions on use of dipped headlights are seriously limited and its instructions on when to signal left when leaving a roundabout are questionable. Next, the process for purchasing a copy should be simplified or, better still, the booklet should be distributed, free, to every household. I would be interested to know how many copies are currently sold and how many people actually know of its existence.

Next, there should be a sensible programme of educational material in all media with the aim of improving the thinking of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. For example, it should persuade drivers approaching traffic lights to think “Can I stop safely?”, rather than “Can I make it?”.

It should promote the use of headlights as a means of being seen: they should be used during dusk and dawn, in mist and rain, in tunnels, and in covered car parks. It should persuade pedestrians never to walk in the road other than to cross it, even if this means walking a little further.

It should persuade newly qualified drivers that they have learned enough to pass the test, now they must make a positive effort to learn to drive.

The police on routine patrols must be more active in looking for offences and taking action; and they must improve their own driving standards.

Ultimately, prosecutions, resulting in loss of licence for repeat offences, might be the only effective weapon. But this requires the police to take a far more proactive role.

Peter Robertson, Sai Kung