a) 

Are there any reduction in accident involvement rates after implementing the probationary driving licence scheme for drivers of motor cycles and motor tricycles?

After the probationary driving licence scheme for drivers of motor cycles and motor tricycles took effect in October 2000, the accident involvement rate of novice motorcyclists has dropped.

 

b)  What are the reasons for extending the scheme to private cars and light goods vehicles ?

Accident statistics show that the accident involvement rates of novice private car and light goods vehicle drivers are higher than those of the experienced drivers.  This is mainly because the novice drivers are inexperienced in controlling the vehicles.  The scheme would encourage the novice drivers to drive more cautiously.

 

c)  Will you consider enhancing the existing learner driving training course instead of introducing the probationary driving licence scheme?

The scheme will provide the novice drivers with a longer driving period under a controlled environment before they are eligible for a full driving licence.  This would be more effective in enhancing road safety.

 

d)  What are the restrictions during the probationary driving period?

Probationary driving licence holders are :

  • required to display "P" plate at the front and rear of the vehicle they are driving  (in the case of a private car or light goods vehicle, display of the “P” plate on the windscreens is also acceptable, but the “P” plate must be displayed on the left-hand side of the windscreens);
  • not allowed to carry any passenger on the motor cycle or motor tricycle they are driving;
  • not allowed to drive their vehicles at a speed in excess of 70 km/h, even if they are driving on roads with speed limit above 70 km/h; and
  • not allowed to drive their vehicles on the offside lane of expressways where there are 3 or more traffic lanes.

e)  Justifications for the restrictions under the scheme

RestrictionsJustification
display "P"- plate

For identification and enforcement purposes. Also help reminding other drivers to be cautious about and patient with the novice drivers.

not allowed to carry any passenger (applicable to drivers of motor cycles and motor tricycles only)

Since novice drivers of motor cycles and motor tricycles are prone to accidents, it is reasonable not to allow them to carry any passenger (the vehicle control is different when carrying passengers).

not allowed to drive at a speed in excess of 70 km/h

It is not desirable for novice drivers to drive at a high speed which would incur greater accident risk.

not allowed to drive on the offside lane on expressways with 3 or more traffic lanes

To accord with the maximum speed of 70 km/h and enhance lane discipline

 

f) 

What are the reasons for setting the probationary driving period at 12 months?

This is because the ratio of accident involvement rate of inexperienced (less than 1 year) to those experienced drivers (more than 1 year) is the highest.  Moreover, a probationary driving period of one year is commonly adopted by most overseas countries.

 

g) 

If a probationary driving licence holder has an outstanding road traffic offence at the end of his probationary driving period (the offence was committed when he was driving under a probationary driving licence), can he apply for a full driving licence or is he required to renew his probationary driving licence?

There are various courses of action a probationary driving licence holder may take.  To facilitate understanding, the possible courses of action and their effects are shown in the below table:

 
Effects 
Actions 

Committed minor road traffic offence for the first time

Committed minor road traffic offence again / serious road traffic offence

Not to apply for a full driving licence or renew the probationary driving licence, but wait until completion of the court proceedings.

He is not allowed to drive before completion of the court proceedings.

He is not allowed to drive before completion of the court proceedings.

Renew the probationary driving licence for 6 months)

If he is convicted, his probationary driving period will be extended for 6 months and he may continue driving with his probationary driving licence.  On satisfactory completion of the extended probationary driving period, he may apply for a full driving licence.

If he is acquitted, he may apply for a full driving licence direct, or he may choose to wait until expiry of the probationary driving licence before applying for a full driving licence.

If he is convicted, his probationary driving licence will be cancelled.  If he wishes to obtain a full driving licence, he needs to retake the driving test and start a 12-month probationary driving period afresh.

If he is acquitted, he may apply for a full driving licence direct, or he may choose to wait until expiry of the probationary driving licence before applying for a full driving licence.

Apply for a full driving licence

If he is convicted, his full driving licence will be cancelled.  His probationary driving period will be extended for 6 month.  He needs to apply for reissue of his probationary driving licence and satisfactorily complete the extended probationary driving period before he is eligible for a full driving licence.

If he is acquitted, he may continue driving with his full driving licence. 

If he is convicted, his full driving licence will be cancelled.  If he wishes to obtain a full driving licence, he needs to retake the driving test and start a 12-month probationary driving period afresh.

If he is acquitted, he may continue driving with his full driving licence.

Notes: If the full driving licence or probationary driving licence that has been obtained is cancelled under the above situations, all licence fees paid shall not be refunded.

 

h)  Serious and minor road traffic offence

Serious road traffic offences refer to those offences which incur 10 or more points under section 4 of the Road Traffic (Driving-offence Points) Ordinance (Cap. 375).

Minor road traffic offences refer to those offences which incur less than 10 points under section 4 of Cap. 375, and include the below four restrictions introduced under this scheme: 

  • "failing to display P-plate"
  • "carrying any passenger (applicable to drivers of motor cycles and motor tricycles only)",
  • "driving at a speed in excess of 70 km/h"; and
  • "driving on the offside lane of expressways where there are 3 or more traffic lanes".

i) Transitional arrangement

Any person who applied to take a driving test for private car or light goods vehicle before 9 February 2009 is not required to undergo a probationary driving period after passing that test, and he is eligible to apply for a full driving licence directly.  If he fails in that driving test and re-applies for a driving test on or after 9 February 2009, he needs to apply for a probationary driving licence after passing the test, and complete a probationary driving period before he is eligible to apply for a full driving licence.