Common Traffic Offences
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Common Traffic Offences
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II. Careless Driving
“without due care and attention”
“without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road”
Proof of careless driving
Some typical examples of careless driving
Failing to keep a safe distance and rear-end collisions
Failing to check when reversing
Knocking down pedestrians
III. Dangerous Driving
“obvious to a competent and careful driver that driving in that way would be dangerous”
Some typical examples of dangerous driving
Jumping or running red lights deliberately
Driving an overloaded vehicle
Proof of dangerous driving
Ms. R drove through 2 red lights at the speed of 100 km per hour and then collided with a stationary vehicle on the opposite side of the road. Upon being charged with dangerous driving, Ms. R argued that trees blocked her view of the red lights, and then she lost control of the vehicle and it dashed into the other side of the road although she had tried her best to keep it on the right side of the road. Assuming that is true, would Ms. R be able to get away with the charge?
The statutory sentences
Dangerous driving involving alcohol or drugs
The Court’s attitude
IV. Driving under the Influence of Drink or Drugs
Elements of the offence
“in charge of a motor vehicle”
“incapable of having proper control of the motor vehicle”
Obligation to submit to screening breath tests and provide specimens for analysis
Obligation to submit to a screening breath test
Mr. D, while driving, was stopped by the police for a random breath test. Mr. D, who had just attended a rave party, was perfectly aware that the alcohol level in his body definitely exceeded the statutory prescribed limit. In the hope of getting away with the charge of drink driving under section 39 or 39A of the Road Traffic Ordinance (Cap.374 of the Laws of Hong Kong), he made up an excuse: “The breath test tools may be infectious” and refused to take the screening breath test. Would his plan work?
Ms. D had a few drinks at a bar and then drove home. She was stopped on the way by the police for a random breath test. Ms. D knew that she couldn’t refuse to do the test. But she deliberately blew around the mouth piece instead of into it. Would her plan work?
Obligation to provide specimens for analysis
Ms. A’s vehicle hit the rear of the vehicle in front. The police officer who arrived at the scene found Ms. A unsteady on her feet, her voice slurred, and her breath smelt of alcohol. Due to Ms. A’s condition as such, the police officer found that no screening breath test could be conducted at the scene. Ms. A was later transferred to a hospital where she was still in an apparently drunken state. A police officer then required her to provide a specimen of urine for a laboratory test. Ms. A, seeing that no female police officer was present, refused to provide the urine specimen. The police officer and the doctor at the hospital then sought Ms. A’s consent to provide a blood specimen; she again refused by saying: “I don’t trust your doctor and your equipment. How do I know if your needle is contaminated with AIDS or not? I won’t give blood to you.” Eventually no breath, urine, nor blood specimen was taken. Was Ms. A entitled to make the above refusals?
Fines and imprisonment
Drink driving vs failure to provide a specimen
V. Some other offences
Related to driving licences
Permitting a vehicle to be driven by an unlicensed person
Driving while disqualified
Related to registration marks and vehicle licences
The owner of a vehicle displayed its registration mark “HE 1107” as “HE110 7”, having the implication of “Hello 7”. Was that a contravention of the law?
I forgot that the Vehicle Licence of my car had expired and I renewed it a few days later. I left the car in my own parking lot and had not driven it in those few days. Did I commit any offence?
Related to traffic lights and signs
Related to speed limits
Related to alteration of vehicles
Related to the use of mobile phones
Ms. M understands that it is illegal to hold and talk on a mobile phone while driving. But she is unsure about using the speaker-phone function? And what about using a hand-free device? Does the law prohibit the use of such function or device?
Related to private roads
Mr. R is a very rich man owning a large piece of land and several luxurious sport cars. Can he let his 10-year old son drive one of his sport cars on that piece of private land? Let’s assume further that that piece of land is completely barren and there is virtually no road at all. Can he argue that he has not done anything wrong on any road (irrespective of whether it is a private road) because there is no road?
Related to expressways
Related to parking
Mr. P, had a heated quarrel with his wife while driving along Queen’s Road Central. He became so agitated that he stopped the vehicle in the middle of the road and just left the scene (and also his poor wife alone in the vehicle). What he had in his mind was: I don’t care; I don’t mind being given a parking ticket; after all, it costs only a few hundred dollars.
Related to insurance
Related to pedestrians
Mr. J crossed a road irrespective of the red light signal. He argued that despite the red light signal, he had carefully checked that there was no vehicle approaching. He therefore believed that it was safe to cross the road and proceeded to do so. Did Mr. J’s argument amount to a “reasonable excuse”, so that he was not liable under Regulation 33(6) of the Road Traffic (Traffic Control) Regulations (Cap.374G of the Laws of Hong Kong)?
The negligent pedestrian
Ms. N crossed a road while talking on her mobile phone. She did not look properly up and down the road and did not notice an approaching vehicle. The vehicle failed to stop in time and knocked down Ms. N. Would Ms. N be liable under section 48 of the Road Traffic Ordinance (Cap.374 of the Laws of Hong Kong)?
Related to cycling
Cyclist A rode a bicycle frantically and knocked into cyclist B. Cyclist B suffered serious injury and eventually died. Can cyclist A be prosecuted under the Road Traffic Ordinance (Cap.374 of the Laws of Hong Kong)?
VI. The Driving-offence Points System and the Fixed Penalty System
The Driving-offence Points System
How it works
Deduction of points
I became aware that I had incurred 15 driving-offence points within the last 2 years. I immediately went to take a driving improvement course and successfully obtained a course certificate. So my balance of driving offence points should now be 12, right?
Calculation of points
I was involved in an accident where I was liable for careless driving, failing to stop after an accident and failing to report after an accident, which would incur 5, 5 and 3 driving-offence points respectively. So in this one single accident, I incurred 13 points, right?
Mr. R repeatedly incurred 15 driving offence points and was to be disqualified for 6 months. He submitted that his wheelchair bound mother was suffering from heart disease, recurrent mental problem and suicidal tendency, that he had to drive her to the hospital for regular medical checks, and that he frequently had to drive home to take care of her in case of emergency. Mr. R tried to rely on the circumstance of “exceptional hardship” and sought a non-disqualification order.
The Fixed Penalty System
How it works
What offences are covered
VII. What to do when accidents happen
Duty to stop
Duty to give particulars
Duty to report
Mr. C’s vehicle accidentally collided with another vehicle. Both drivers stopped, got out of their vehicles and quarreled. In the heat of the incident, the driver of the other vehicle did not ask Mr. C to give particulars, but did tell Mr. C to remain at the scene to wait for the police. Mr. C, who had to attend an important meeting, then left the scene. The other driver, however, managed to remember the registration mark of Mr. C’s vehicle and reported the same to the police. The police had no difficulty in locating Mr. C in his office within just one hour. During the interview with the police, Mr. C told everything in detail to the police. Under such circumstances, what are Mr. C’s liabilities (if any) under section 56 of the Road Traffic Ordinance (Cap.374 of the Laws of Hong Kong)?
A vehicle bumped into the back of another vehicle. Both vehicles stopped. There was of course some damage to both vehicles; but luckily, no one was injured. In order not to block the traffic, both drivers agreed to drive the vehicles to a nearby gas station to discuss liability and damages. Since they had obviously moved the vehicles, would they be liable under section 57 of the Road Traffic Ordinance (Cap.374 of the Laws of Hong Kong)?
Notifying the insurer
Common Traffic Offences
Driving under the Influence of Drink or Drugs
Some other offences
The Driving-offence Points System and the Fixed Penalty System
What to do when accidents happen
Updated on 25 July 2012
The CLIC Team
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