Q1: What is the content of the new "mobile phone" law?
A1: From 1 July 2000, drivers of all motor vehicles will be prohibited from holding a hand-held mobile phone by hand or in between his head and shoulder, or holding its accessories including the microphone while the vehicle is in motion.
For other similar hand-held "telecommunications equipment" such as radio phones (other than mobile phone), the same prohibition will apply with effect from 1 July 2001. This also applies to drivers of all motor vehicles.
Note: In this new law, "telecommunications equipment" means any eqiupment, apparatus or device, whether or not installed in a motor vehicle, which is designed to be or capable of being used to communicate with any person orally by menas of radio waves or other electromagnetic means, which includes mobile phones, radiophones, walkie-talkies but not load speakers.
Q2: What is the penalty for violating the new law?
A2: A breach of the new law may be liable to a maximum fine of $2,000.
Q3: Will a driver contravene the new law if he/she uses his/her finger to punch the buttons of a mobile phone for answering or placing a call?
A3: As long as the driver is not holding the mobile phone by his hand when performing these tasks, he/she will not contravene the new law.
Q4: Will a driver contravene the new law if he/she uses his/her fingers to hold the microphone of the hands-free accessory of his/her mobile phone, while using the mobile phone?
A4: Yes. It is because it involves the action of holding the accessory as described in A1.
Q5: Will a driver contravene the new law if he/she uses a mobile phone by holding it when the vehicle driven by him is stopped at red signals, held up in a traffic jam or parked at roadside?
A5: No. It is because the new law only applies to situation when a vehicle is in motion.
Q6: Will a passenger or a driver contravene the new law if the passenger holds a mobile phone for the driver to use?
A6: No, because the driver is not holding the phone, therefore, it will not contravene this new law. However, if the driver loses proper control of the vehicle under this circumstance, he may be prosecuted for other offences such as "careless driving".
Q7: Will a driving instructor contravene the new law if he/she, during the course of teaching a leaner driver while the vehicle driven by the learner driver is in motion, uses a mobile phone by hand?
A7: The new law applies to all motor vehicle drivers. Under the Road Traffic Ordinance (Cap. 374), a driver means any person who is in charge of or assisting in the control of a vehicle, and depending on the circumstances, may include the driving instructor.
Q8: Are there any approved hands-free accessories for mobile phones stipulated in the new law?
A8: The new law prohibits the act of holding mobile phone or its accessories and does not specify or have any control on the types of hands-free accessories for mobile phones. For so long as the use of mobile phone, whether in conjunction with a hands-free accessory or not, does not involve any of the manners (as described in A1), this will not contravene the new law. However, installation of hands-free accessories in a vehicle should not in any way contravene other regulations currently in force and should not affect sightline of the driver nor interfere the driver's control of the vehicle.
Q9: Is it mandatory to install hands-free accessories in a vehicle after the implementation of the new law?
A9: No. The new law intends to discourage the use of mobile phone while driving to enhance road safety. Therefore, if a driver/owner of a vehicle does not intend to use mobile phone while driving, this new law will not have any effect to the driver/owner.
Q10: Will a rider of a bicycle contravene the new law if he/she use mobile phone by hand while cycling?
A10: No, because the new law only applies to drivers of motor vehicles. Drivers of vehicles, which are not mechanically propelled, fall outside the scope of the new law. However, if a cyclist uses a mobile phone while cycling and loses proper control of the bicycle, he may be charged with other offence such "careless cycling".
Q11: Does driver of a commercial vehicle have one-year grace period of using hand-held telecommunications equipment?
A11: No, the one-year grace period (see A1) applies to the use of telecommunication equipment (other than mobile phones) and not to specific group of drivers. In other words, the use of mobile phones by hand by all drivers while the motor vehicles driven by them are in motion will contravene the new law from 1 July 2000 and the use of other telecommunications equipment by hand by all drivers while the motor vehicles driven by them are in motion will also contravene the new law from 1 July 2001.