Five ways Hong Kong can improve road safety
It was saddening to learn of yet another fatal traffic accident (“Witnesses recall horror of runaway school bus’ deadly descent”, December 10), just days after a bus crash in Tsing Yi claimed six lives, including the driver of the coach (“Coach driver in deadly crash had been working 12-hour shifts”, November 30).
Most traffic incidents are avoidable, and a strong emphasis on preventive measures should be the focus of both transport companies and the public.
First, long hours and inadequate rest leave drivers exhausted, affecting reaction times and road safety. Thus, I strongly suggest that the government enact a law to regulate the working hours of drivers in the public transport industry to not more than nine hours per shift, with a break of not less than 15 minutes between two consecutive trips.
Second, a maximum age limit of 60 should be set for the employment of drivers. Elderly people tend to respond slowly and might not be able to handle sudden changes in the situation on the road.
Third, drivers with a record of causing death or severe injury while on the job should be banned from the industry.
Fourth, it is a common practice for transport companies to deprive drivers of attendance bonuses if they take sick leave. Therefore, drivers tend to go to work even if they are ill. Drivers on medication might feel drowsy at the wheel, which is a safety risk.
Drivers, as well as industrial workers in other sectors, should be protected by labour laws and be entitled to paid sick leave without facing deductions from their attendance bonus.
Finally, regular maintenance check-ups and the installation of safety belts on all vehicles are needed.
Kwok Tak-ming, Wong Tai Sin