This is a very special Annual Report for me, as it is my first report as Chairman of the Road Safety Council.  In the past 12 months, it has been my great privilege to see how much has been accomplished by the Council’s members and our many other colleagues, supporters and volunteers.

The number of fatal traffic accidents in Hong Kong continues to fall.  In 2006, there were 135 fatal accidents and 144 fatalities.  While this is the lowest level in 49 years and is something we should all be proud of, these figures still represent the needless loss of 144 lives.  It is vital that we allow no room for complacency.  You can be confident that the Council will continue working hard to co-ordinate the efforts of all parties, further improving road safety and helping to maintain Hong Kong’s status as one of the world’s safest cities for road users and pedestrians.

Last year we used ‘Smart Driving with Courtesy’ as our major theme.  This important new campaign has helped emphasise the importance of courtesy behind the wheel and the value of giving way to other road users.

To protect the lives of Hong Kong’s children, we also launched a Road Safety Proficiency Badge Scheme for primary school students in 2005.  Designed to be an interactive and fun way to learn about road safety, 82 classes have been held since February 2006, with over 1,800 primary school students participating.  To ensure the exponential growth of this important scheme, we have also implemented a ‘train-the-trainer’ scheme, which has been generously supported by the Road Safety Association.

Naturally, education is only one of the ways in which Hong Kong will achieve its goal of zero accidents on the road.  Legislation provides an important framework, acting both as a deterrent and enabling offenders to be prosecuted.

In 2006, a number of new measures were written into law.  For instance, from 1 January 2006, the penalty for failing to comply with traffic lights was increased from $450 to $600, and the number of Driving Offence Points raised from three to five.  Three other common traffic offences have also been incorporated into fixed penalty tickets, namely using a mobile phone or other telecommunications equipment while driving; failing to drive in the nearside lane of an expressway, and; driving a motorcycle or motor tricycle without the obligatory lit lamps.

Moreover, to enable more accurate enforcement on the roads, Hong Kong’s Red Light Camera Scheme was successfully expanded in 2006.  Some 68 digital red light cameras have been added and 20 additional fixed enforcement sites established at key junctions throughout Hong Kong.  I am confident that this simple yet effective technology will help further increase road safety for all road users in the year ahead.

It is gratifying to see the results of our efforts in 2006, but there remains much work still to be done.  In partnership with the community, the Road Safety Council will continue its life-saving work of educating the public and publicising the importance of road safety.  Together, let us strive to realise Hong Kong’s Road Safety Vision: ‘Zero Accidents on the Road, Hong Kong’s Goal’.

YAM Tat-wing
Chairman, Road Safety Council