Summary of Road Traffic (Amendment) Ordinance 2012

(Effective on 13 April 2012)

Measures to further enhance the safety of public light bus (PLB) operation and the quality of PLB service
1a) Imposing a maximum speed limit at which a PLB may travel
1b) Requiring every PLB to be fitted with a speed limiter
1c) Requiring every PLB driver to display a driver identity (ID) plate
1d) Requiring every newly registered PLB to be fitted with an Electronic Data Recording Device (EDRD)
1e) Requiring applicants for a PLB driving licence to attend and complete a pre-service course before being issued of the driving licence
2) Penalties
3) Defence provision
4) Disclaimer

 

1. Measures to further enhance the safety of public light bus (PLB) operation and the quality of PLB service

With a view to achieving continuous improvements in the safety of PLB operation and the quality of its services, the Government proposed to amend the Road Traffic Ordinance, Cap 374 and its subsidiary legislation in 2011.  The proposed amendments were passed by the Legislative Council.  The Road Traffic (Amendment) Ordinance 2012 (the Ordinance) came into effective on 13 April 2012.  The measures included:

1. Imposing a maximum speed limit at which a PLB may travel;
2. Requiring every PLB to be fitted with a speed limiter;
3. Requiring every PLB driver to display a driver identity (ID) plate in PLB
4. Requiring every newly registered PLB to be fitted with an Electronic Data Recording Device (EDRD) (the Secretary for Transport and Housing will publish by notice in the gazette to specify the effective date separately); and
5. Requiring applicants for a PLB driving licence to attend and complete a pre-service course before being issued of the driving licence.

The Road Traffic Ordinance, Cap 374; the Road Traffic (Construction and Maintenance of Vehicles) Regulations, Cap 374A; the Road Traffic (Driving Licences) Regulations, Cap 374B; and the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations, Cap 374D were amended to introduce the above measures.

Please click to access [the Ordinance] for details.

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 1a. Imposing a maximum speed limit at which a PLB may travel

The Ordinance stipulates a maximum speed limit of 80 kilometres per hour (km/h) for PLBs when travelling on roads, an offender commits a crime.

Although the maximum speed limit is set at 80 km/h for PLBs, any person who drives a PLB on roads is still subject to any speed limit indicated on the traffic signs on the road sections concerned, which may be lower than 80 km/h.

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 1b. Requiring every PLB to be fitted with a speed limiter

The Road Traffic (Construction and Maintenance of Vehicles) Regulations, Cap. 374A was amended to mandate installation of an approved speed limiter on every PLB by an authorized speed limiter installer; and to make tampering with a fitted speed limiter an offence.  The speed limiter must be maintained in good and efficient working order; and should be examined and sealed by the Transport Department(TD).  A plate marked with the information specified in the Ordinance must be affixed on a fitted speed limiter or on a place adjacent to the speed limiter.  No alteration in respect of the design and accuracy may be made to a fitted speed limiter, except as permitted in writing by the Commissioner for Transport.

In addition, the Ordinance requires a sign containing only the words "THE MAXIMUM SPEED OF THIS VEHICLE IS LIMITED TO 80 KM/H" and the characters "本車最高時速限於 80 公里" must be displayed in a conspicuous position in the passengers' compartment of every PLB.  The characters and words of the sign must be at least 50 mm high and legible at all times when the vehicle is in service; and the sign must be kept free from any obstruction which might prevent it from being easily read by passengers.  A sample of the sign is shown below:

 

 

The installation and performance requirements for the speed limiter can be found in regulation 24B and Schedule 17 of the Road Traffic (Construction and Maintenance of Vehicles) Regulations, Cap 374A and the requirements related to authorized speed limiter installer can be found under regulation 120AA of the same regulations.

The list of approved models of speed limiters and the respective authorized speed limiter installers are shown on [Table A].

Matters requiring attention:

1. For a PLB which has been installed with a speed limiter before the commencement of the Ordinance as per the passenger service licence and PLB vehicle licence conditions, the speed limiter is an approved type and it was installed by an authorized installer as shown in the "List of TD Approved Speed Limiters and Installers", and the speed limiter has passed TD actual speed test with its controller sealed, and the seal and set speed remain intact after commencement of the Ordinance, the PLB is deemed to comply with the requirements in the Ordinance.  There is no need for the PLB owner to arrange vehicle inspection immediately after the commencement of the Ordinance.  In future, TD will examine during annual vehicle examination the seal of the speed limiter to check if there is any damage, and the installation method of the speed limiter to inspect whether there is abnormality or alternation.  Random actual running test of the device by equipment will be conducted.

2. If a vehicle owner or driver finds the speed limiter damaged or not working properly, a signal telltale will prompt up.  Vehicle owner or driver should arrange inspection and repair for the speed limiter with expedition.  If the TD seal on the speed limiter has been broken, the vehicle owner or driver should quickly arrange for inspection by an authorized speed limiter installer, and make appointment with TD to re-seal the device.

3. From June 2010, TD, through a new condition in the passenger service licence and vehicle licence, required all PLBs to be installed within 3 months from the effective date of the first issue, or the first renewal, of the vehicle licence with an approved speed limiter.  On 13 April 2012, when the Ordinance was effective, the grace period arrangement provided under the condition of vehicle licence and passenger service licence became ineffective at the same time.

 

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1c. Requiring every PLB driver to display a driver ID plate in PLB

The passenger service licence of PLB requires the licence holder to cause to be displayed inside every PLB used for provision of service a PLB driver ID plate. The requirement is to enhance the professional image of PLB drivers and the PLB service quality.

To better achieve the objective, the Road Traffic (Public Service Vehicles) Regulations, Cap 374D was amended to require a PLB which is standing for the purpose of picking up passengers, or being used for the carriage of passengers, for hire or reward, the driver must display in a PLB a PLB driver ID plate in holder both of which must comply the specifications specified by the Commissioner by notice in the Gazette. The PLB driver ID plate and PLB driver ID plate holder should not be in any way obscured. PLB driver who fails to comply with the requirements is an offence.

The PLB driver ID plate mentioned above:

(a) must be of the size, design, form and construction, and displayed in the position in the public light bus, as specified by the Commissioner by notice in the Gazette;

(b) must show the captions “PUBLIC LIGHT BUS DRIVER IDENTITY PLATE” and “公共小巴司機證”;

(c) must show the driver's full name as shown in his identity card in English and, where appropriate, in Chinese; and

(d) must bear the driver's photograph taken not earlier than 12 months before the day of display.

The PLB driver ID plate holder mentioned above:

(a) must be of the size, design, form and construction, and displayed in the position in the public light bus, as specified by the Commissioner by notice in the Gazette;

(b) must show the vehicle registration mark of the public light bus.

Matters requiring attention:

1. We remind the PLB drivers that if you have lost or do not have the PLB driver ID plate, please go to the agents authorized by the TD to obtain one immediately. Information about the authorized agents is shown in [Table B].

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 1d. Requiring every newly registered PLB to be fitted with an Electronic Data Recording Device (EDRD)

The Road Traffic (Construction and Maintenance of Vehicles) Regulations, Cap. 374A was amended to include the EDRD as basic equipment of new PLBs.  The Ordinance also specifies the installation and performance requirements of an EDRD to be fitted on PLBs, and makes tampering with a fitted EDRD an offence.

EDRD is a device which records and stores running data of a vehicle digitally.  The device includes sensors (for sensing running data of a vehicle), the on-board device (for transmitting data to the recording medium), the recording medium (for storing data) and an analysis system comprising the analysis software and reader.

The Ordinance also mandates an EDRD to be fitted on a PLB be of an approved model and be installed by an authorized EDRD installer.  A fitted EDRD must be maintained in good working order; pass TD examination and be sealed by the TD.  A plate marked with the information specified in the Ordinance must be affixed on a fitted EDRD or on a place adjacent to the EDRD.  No alteration in respect of the design and accuracy may be made to a fitted EDRD, except as permitted in writing by the Commissioner for Transport.

The installation and performance requirements for the EDRD can be found in regulation 24C and Schedule 19 of the Road Traffic (Construction and Maintenance of Vehicles) Regulations, Cap. 374A; and the requirements related to authorized EDRD installer can be found in regulation 120AA of the same regulations. Information about approved models of the EDRD and authorized EDRD installers is available in [Table C].

The Secretary for Transport and Housing has specified by notice in gazette, that all new public light buses first registered on or after 1 Dec 2014 must be fitted with an EDRD.

Moreover, the Ordinance empowers Commissioner for Transport to retrieve data stored in an EDRD to ensure the proper functioning of an EDRD and enhance monitoring of PLB services and operation when conducting examination of PLB fitted with EDRD.  Moreover, to facilitate investigation of accidents and other offences under the Road Traffic Ordinance and its subsidiary legislation as well as law enforcement involving PLB operation, the Ordinance also empowers the police to retrieve data stored in an EDRD and provide for the use of that data as evidence in any criminal proceedings. 
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1e. Requiring applicants for a PLB driving licence to attend and complete a pre-service course before being issued of the driving licence

For improving the driving attitude of drivers, and safety and service quality of PLB, the Road Traffic Ordinance, Cap 374 and the Road Traffic (Driving Licence) Regulations, Cap 374B were amended to require applicants for a PLB driving licence on or after 1 June 2015 to attend and complete a Pre-service Course for PLB Drivers, which is specified and approved by Commissioner for Transport, before being issued of the PLB driving licence. (Note: These Regulations do not apply to those who have already applied for the relevant driving test before the implementation date)

Please click here for the details of implementation of pre-service course.

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2. Penalties

To better achieve our objective, the Ordinance has introduced penalties for offences.  The penalties are summarized in [Table D].

 

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3. Defence provision

It is a defence in any proceedings in respect of a contravention of regulation 24B(4)(b) or 24B(7) of the Road Traffic (Construction and Maintenance of Vehicles), Cap. 374A, concerning the requirement for sealing the speed limiter; and regulation 24C(5)(b) or 24C(7) of the same regulations concerning the requirement for sealing the EDRD, to prove that at the time when the contravention was detected steps had already been taken to have the fitted speed limiter or EDRD sealed, or resealed, with all reasonable expedition.

In addition, it is a defence in any proceedings in respect of a contravention of regulation 24B(4)(c) of the Road Traffic (Construction and Maintenance of Vehicles), Cap. 374A, concerning the requirement for maintaining a fitted speed limiter in good and efficient order; and regulation 24C(5)(c) of the same regulations concerning the requirement for maintaining a fitted EDRD in good working order, to prove that -

(a) the defect occurred in the course of the journey during which the contravention was detected; or
(b) at the time when the contravention was detected steps had already been taken to have the defect remedied with all reasonable expedition.

 

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4. Disclaimer

The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is not liable, directly or indirectly, for any form of claims, losses or damages special or consequential arising out of or in connection with the use of or reliance upon any of the information contained or implied in this "Road Traffic (Amendment) Ordinance 2012" website.   You should refer to the Road Traffic (Amendment) Ordinance 2012 for the exact provisions of the offences and penalties mentioned and consult your legal advisor where necessary.