In Hong Kong people drive on the left-hand side of the road and speed limits are 50 kilometers per hour in the city and 80 kilometers per hour on the highways unless otherwise indicated. Speeding fines are levied on errant drivers. These speeding fines can be given on the spot, or sent by post if speeding was registered by a hidden camera. This speeding ticket usually contains information on where, how and before when to pay the fine. Reminders will be sent in case of non-payment. Speed limits in Hong Kong usually range from 30 to 110 km/hr and they differ according to the type and location of the road.
The use of seat belts in vehicles is compulsory for both front- and back-seat passengers, and Hong Kong law requires that all registered vehicles have third-party liability insurance. A valid driving license must be kept with the driver at all times.
Hong Kong’s driving laws are very strict and there is not much flexibility for repeat offenders. The maximum penalty for dangerous driving causing death is a HK$50,000 fine, imprisonment for five years and disqualification from driving for not less than two years on first conviction. The use of cell phones without a hands-free device is strictly prohibited, and offenders are liable to a maximum fine of HK$2,000.
Drinking and Driving
Drinking and driving is major offense in Hong Kong. The prescribed alcohol limit is:
- 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath
- 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
- 67mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine
Any driver who is found to be exceeding the prescribed limit may face prosecution.
- First conviction: 10 demerit-offense points or disqualification from driving.
- Any subsequent conviction results in the suspension of a driving license for two years or more, a fine and up to three years’ imprisonment.
A full and comprehensive Road User’s Guide that contains everything you need to know about driving in Hong Kong can be found at http://www.td.gov.hk/en/home/index_t.html.
Hong Kong is equipped with more than 17,800 pay and display or individual parking meters. These meters operate from 08:00 until midnight on weekdays, and from 10:00-22:00 on Sundays and public holidays. There are fixed time limits on parking meters ranging from 30 minutes to two hours, and Octopus cards are usually used for making payment at these street side meters. Further the city is equipped with fourteen government-owned, multi-storey car parks while most apartment blocks are equipped with private and guest parking spaces.
You are supposed to pay and park at the appropriate spots in Hong Kong as illegal parking can lead to a fixed penalty ticket, wheel clamping or the vehicle being towed away. All fines can be paid at any bank teller machine.
Should you be involved in a traffic accident in which personal injury is involved, you are required to report it to the police. Drivers are also required to undergo an alcohol level test at the scene of an accident. Any driver found exceeding the legal limit of blood alcohol level may face prosecution.
In the unfortunate event that you have an accident there are a number of actions that are expected from you.
- Warn other drivers by using hazard lights or a warning triangle.
- Take relevant fire prevention precautions including switching off the engine and refraining from smoking.
- In the event of a minor accident and if there are no serious injuries, you do not need to call the police. Make sure to exchange insurance details with the counter-party and contact your own insurance company to inform them of the accident.
- If you have damaged any public property in any way you will need to inform the police.
- You also need to take a photograph of the damage to the vehicle for any insurance claims that need to be filed.
- In the event of a more serious incident, stay at the scene of the accident and send someone for help. Dial 999 in an emergency.