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January sees 295 traffic accidents involving taxis, with over half of the drivers aged above 60

January sees 295 traffic accidents involving taxis, with over half of the drivers aged above 60

Hong Kong recorded 295 traffic accidents involving taxis in January this year, with over half of the drivers aged above 60, according to official statistics.
Recent taxi accidents have brought the trade's aging workforce back in the limelight, and lawmakers have raised concerns about whether authorities are formulating corresponding measures to deal with the problem.

Responding to lawmaker’s inquiry on Wednesday, the Transport and Logistics Bureau said, in january, traffic accidents involving taxis accounted for 23.6 percent of the total accidents recorded.

Of which, 166 taxi drivers among the 328 involved were aged above 60, it said.

It also said the government has been closely monitoring the operation of taxis and has adopted various measures to alleviate the problems and operational difficulties faced by the trade in different aspects, in order to attract more new blood to join the industry.

It noted that the requirement for applying a commercial vehicle driving licence - including taxi - has been relaxed since October 1, 2020, from the original requirement that the applicant must have held a driving license of private car or light goods vehicle for at least three years to at least one year.

The taxi written test has also been enhanced from February 2020 by adjusting the content, number of questions and passing criteria such that the examination can better suit the practical needs, with a view to attracting more newcomers to alleviate the problem of manpower shortage in the trade.

Meanwhile, in a bid to enhance the safety and quality of taxi services, the government in October 2020 required applicants for a full taxi driving licence to complete a pre-service course prior to obtaining the licence.

As of February 28 this year, a total of 10,338 students attended the relevant courses, among which 10,209 students completed the courses and obtained the course certificates, according to the Transport Department.

Separately, the bureau said the Smart Traffic Fund has approved three projects relating to taxi driving safety with an aim to improve driving safety and driving habits of drivers.

“These projects include the trial of installing driving safety monitoring systems on taxis to monitor the driving condition and behavior of drivers, so that alerts may be sent to the drivers when necessary.

“The TD will closely monitor the trial results of various projects. Subject to the effectiveness of the trials, the TD will encourage more taxis to install such systems to improve driving safety,” it said.
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