Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While in Hong Kong, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. About 90 percent of the population in Hong Kong depends on public transport. Taxis, buses, and the mass transit railway (MTR) are readily available, inexpensive, and generally safe. The MTR, an underground railway network, is the most popular mode of public transport, carrying an average of 3.5 million passengers a day.
In Hong Kong, traffic moves on the left. During the daytime, traffic congests Hong Kong's urban areas. Each year there are about 14,000 traffic accidents in Hong Kong involving more than 18,000 drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Speed limits are 50 kilometers per hour (kph) (approximately 31 miles per hour (mph)) in urban areas, 80 kph (approximately 50 mph) on highways, and 110 kph (approximately 68 mph) on expressways unless otherwise marked. The use of seatbelts in vehicles, if they are so equipped, is mandatory both in the front and back seats. The maximum penalty for dangerous driving causing death can be a fine of $50,000 HK ($6,500 US), imprisonment for five years, and disqualification from driving for not fewer than two years on first conviction. If you are a driver involved in a traffic accident, you will be required to undergo alcohol-level testing. If you are found to exceed the prescribed limit of blood alcohol, you may face prosecution under Hong Kong law. The use of hand-held cellular phones while driving in Hong Kong is strictly prohibited. If you breach this law, you may be subject to a maximum fine of $2,000 HK ($260 US). However, you can use “hands-free devices,” such as headphones and speakerphones. Hong Kong law requires that all registered vehicles carry valid third-party liability insurance.
You may be issued a Hong Kong driver’s license without a test if you hold a valid U.S. driver’s license, provided you have resided in the United States at least six months. If you do not plan to stay in Hong Kong for more than 12 months you can drive in Hong Kong on your valid U.S. driver’s license. Visit the Hong Kong Transport Department online for further details.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Also, we suggest that you visit the website of the country’s Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Hong Kong Road Safety Council.
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