Proper maintenance of both vehicles and roads play a critical role in reducing the number of accidents in Hong Kong.  In collaboration with a number of Government departments, the Council actively promotes vehicle maintenance and works closely with all relevant bodies to ensure Hong Kong remains one of the world’s safest places to drive.

Code of Practice for the Lighting, Signing and Guarding of Road Works

The 4th issue of the Code of Practice for the Lighting, Signing and Guarding of Road Works (CoP) was gazetted in December 2006 and came into effect in July 2007.  This new CoP introduces a number of enhancements to the lighting, signing and guarding requirements of road works, all of which play a valuable role in improving road safety.  These include the mandatory use of plastic barriers on carriageways, the introduction of special warning signs for major road works, and the provision of truck-mounted attenuators to escort work vehicles.  After reviewing the feedback of road users, the design of Multiple Sequence Warning Signs has also been revised, and their luminance can now be adjusted according to the ambient light to minimise glare.  The new CoP further enhances road safety by providing detailed procedures for mobile operations on expressways.

Site Investigations and Improvements

Hong Kong enjoys extremely well maintained roads.  This is achieved through the joint efforts of the Police, Transport Department and Highways Department via the Traffic Accident Reduction Co-ordination Committee (TARCC).

To sustain this position of excellence, the Government oversees a continual programme of analysis and investigation that seeks to identify traffic blacksites.  On a quarterly basis, the Transport Department compiles a blacksite list which identifies locations having six or more traffic accidents resulting in pedestrian injuries over a 12-month period; and areas where nine or more traffic accident injuries of any kind occur over a 12-month period.

In 2006, the Transport Department reviewed 102 sites, the results of which have enabled the Government to identify potential problems and create safer roads for both drivers and pedestrians.

The Blacksite Investigation Programme

Of the 102 sites reviewed in 2006, most required relatively minor corrective work.  The value of these simple, low-cost schemes can be seen in the gradual reduction of blacksites in recent years, from 140 in 1994 to just 69 in 2006.

MASS Action

A cost-effective technique for the analysis of traffic accident sites is Multiple Application of Standard Solutions (MASS).  Requiring limited resources, MASS enables investigators to better understand the dynamics of a traffic blacksite.  This enables the Government to implement new safety measures at a larger number of locations and within a shorter period of time, ultimately helping to reduce accidents and safeguard lives.

Area Studies

Sometimes the result of an accident investigation will lead to a major revision of traffic flows in a specific location, including the implementation of a comprehensive traffic management scheme.  Remedial measures can also create entirely new environments that promote safer driving and enhance the whole community’s welfare.

Engineering Measures

In 2006, Highways Department introduced the use of Removable Concrete Barriers to replace the tubular crash gates at some emergency openings in the central divider of dual carriageways.  These Removable Concrete Barriers consist of a series of precast concrete units which can be removed within short time to facilitate traffic diversions in the event of a major traffic incident.  Unlike tubular crash gates which have no containment capacity to prevent an errant vehicle from straying onto the opposite carriageway during a crash, Removable Concrete Barriers can significantly reduce damage during an accident.  Trials at Prince Edward Road East and Fanling Highway were completed in 2006 and further trials are ongoing in 2007.

The Highways Department is also studying the feasibility of installing new Movable Steel Barriers at emergency openings.  These barriers have a containment capacity that is comparable to normal barriers, but can be quickly and easily opened up to allow emergency vehicles to pass through when necessary.

Chainage Markers

The installation of Chainage Markers was completed at the end of 2006 on the entire Strategic Road Network.  Motorists can now give this information to emergency services in the event that assistance is required.

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Vehicle Approval and Registration

All new vehicles in Hong Kong are subject to the Road Traffic (Construction and Maintenance of Vehicles) Regulations, which means every new vehicle must undergo an inspection to examine its roadworthiness.  The Transport Department only grants exceptions to vehicle manufacturers that have established a guaranteed level of vehicle conformity.

Annual Inspections

Licensing regulations require an annual inspection for all commercial vehicles, regardless of how long they have been on the road, as well as all private cars aged six years or more.  Inspections are carried out at designated inspection centres, and licences are denied to any vehicle failing to pass.  Where defects are found, drivers are given the opportunity to repair the problem and submit the car for another test.

Franchised Buses

The safety of drivers and passengers on franchised buses is of great importance.  To ensure the highest standards of operations, the Government has continued its programme of monitoring and unannounced spot checks.  Call-up inspections are also made on non-franchised buses.  All these measures have led to an increase in maintenance standards and a safer environment for all road users.

School Transport Vehicles

With the lives of Hong Kong’s next generation at stake, school buses are naturally subject to close scrutiny.  All operators of school buses are required to hold a valid passenger service licence, and every vehicle must carry a passenger service licence certificate.  To further ensure safety, an inter-departmental working group also meets regularly to discuss such issues as seat design, driver training and road safety education for both parents and children.