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Traffic and road safety in Hong Kong

‘Every uniformed officer’ to join Hong Kong police crackdown on careless driving

Force vows no mercy during month-long operation targeting inattentiveness behind the wheel

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 March, 2018, 7:24pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 March, 2018, 7:24pm

Drivers who speed, use a phone or eat behind the wheel – watch out. Hong Kong police have promised to send out “every uniformed officer” from Sunday and show no mercy when they launch a crackdown on inattentive driving.

The operation comes after 5,735 traffic accidents were blamed on inattentiveness last year, claiming 50 lives and seriously injuring 608 people.

Martin Cadman, chief superintendent of the police’s traffic branch headquarters, said the force would specifically target offences linked to inattentiveness for the entire month of April.

They include speeding, disobeying traffic signals and drink and drug-driving, as well as the use of handheld telecommunication equipment at the wheel.

“This operation will be conducted not just by traffic police officers, but by all uniformed police officers throughout Hong Kong. They will do it on foot and in vehicles. They will use personal observation and traffic enforcement equipment,” Cadman warned on Thursday.

“The message from us is clear – driving requires your full and undivided attention. Stay focused behind the wheel.”

He said officers would use video cameras in some places to gather evidence where necessary.

Hong Kong’s Road Traffic Ordinance sets out stringent provisions on “dangerous driving” and “careless driving”. Drivers face a maximum fine of HK$2,000 if caught using a mobile phone or other communication device in their hands or between their head and shoulder.

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Dangerous driving causing death carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Reckless drivers face a seven-year jail term if they cause grievous bodily harm.

Jim Ng Lok-chun, senior superintendent for the Hong Kong Island traffic unit, said there would be no warnings for drivers during the crackdown.

“They can expect to be hit with a penalty,” Ng said.

Last Thursday, police commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung urged drivers to be responsible, after a policeman was hit and killed by a truck while responding to a car accident in Hung Hom.

Figures from the force show 15,725 traffic accidents were recorded last year, 104 of them fatal.