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Govt to consult public on tougher traffic offence penalties

Wed, 6th Jun 2018

The government will launch a two-month public consultation late this month on the drafting of a bill amending the current Road Traffic Law, with the aim of combating traffic offences more effectively and thereby improving the city’s road safety.

The amendment bill proposes that the penalties for various traffic violations be raised significantly, such as illegal parking, speeding and drink-driving.

A press conference about the public consultation was held Tuesday at the Transport Bureau (DSAT) Building. The consultation will start on June 28 and end on August 26. Four public sessions will be held during the consultation period.

The government proposes that the bill will amend the Road Traffic Law enacted in 2007 and its supplementary by-laws.

Addressing the press conference, DSAT Director Kelvin Lam Hin San said that the current Road Traffic Law has been in force for over 10 years and that some of its rules are unable to tackle the city’s ever-busier traffic conditions nowadays.

Lam said that the government proposes the extension for the mandatory use of seat belts. According to the current Road Traffic Law, the driver and the front seat passenger must wear seat belts when driving a light vehicle.

He did not elaborate.

According to Lam, the government proposes that those who are driving a heavy vehicle be banned from using mobile phones even when using it with a hands-free device.

According to the current Road Traffic Law, those who are driving any kind of vehicle are banned from using mobile phones, except when they use it with a hands-free device.

Lam said that the government also proposes that drivers be banned from leaving their vehicles idling – they need to switch off their engines when stopped. Lam did not say for how long after stopping their vehicles drivers would need to switch off the engine.

According to Lam, the amendment bill proposes that the penalty for drink-driving be raised to a prison term of up to two years – or a fine of up to 90,000 patacas, from the current prison term of up to one year. The bill proposes that the offender will be banned from driving for up to four years, as opposed to the current ban of three years.

The government proposes that the maximum fine for speeding be raised to 20,000 patacas, from the current maximum fine of 10,000 patacas. The bill also proposes that the offender will be barred from driving for up to two years, as opposed to the current ban of one year, according to Lam.

The amendment bill proposes that the fine for illegal parking be raised to 600 patacas from 300 patacas, Lam said.

Lam said that the government also proposes the introduction of a driving-offence points system, in reference to “neighbouring regions”.

The government proposes that only traffic offences involving road safety be covered by the proposed driving-offence points system, according to Lam.