Traffic Accident Trends in Hong Kong

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1 Traffic Accident Trends in Hong Kong Traffic Accident Trends in Hong Kong INTRODUCTION 4.1 With a total area of km 2, Hong Kong has a population of 6.8 million and licensed vehicles as at 30 June The length of public roads runs to km, with 111 km being expressways. Against this background, the Panel has reviewed the accident rates and trends in Hong Kong in the past two decades, and compared the records with those of other major cities to assess the safety level of the road transport system in Hong Kong. 4.2 Members recognise that there are different parameters for monitoring accident trends and assessing road safety performance. Other than total number of accidents, accident rates can be compared against different levels of population, motorisation and road network built, i.e. in terms of number of accidents per million population, per thousand licensed vehicles, per kilometre of road or per million vehicle-kilometre respectively. As each parameter has its advantages and limitations, the Panel has reviewed the accident trends using various parameters to arrive at a more comprehensive analysis. OVERALL TREND 4.3 The historical trend of the total number of traffic accidents (Figure 4.1) provides a comparison of road safety performance over a period of time. From 1982 to 2002, the number of accidents dropped by about 15%. However, a slight Figure 4.1 Total number of accidents in Hong Kong ( ) 15

2 upward trend was observed since In terms of accident rates per population and per vehicles, they have reached a plateau for quite a number of years. SEVERITY TREND 4.4 During the same period, the number of fatal 1 and serious 2 accidents per year reduced by 63% (from 434 to 162) and 60% (from to 3 118) respectively. Both show a downward trend with the drop stabilising in the past few years as shown in Figures 4.2 and 4.3. On the other hand, the number of slight 3 accidents per year increased by about 25% from to as shown in Figure 4.4. Figure 4.2 Number of fatal accidents ( ) Figure 4.3 Number of serious accidents ( ) 1 A fatal accident is one in which at least one person is killed immediately, or is injured and subsequently dies of his injuries within 30 days of the accident. 2 A serious accident is one in which one or more persons is injured and detained in hospital for more than 12 hours. 3 A slight accident is one in which one or more persons is injured but not to the extent that detention in hospital is required for more than 12 hours. 16

3 Traffic Accident Trends in Hong Kong Figure 4.4 Number of slight accidents ( ) CASUALTY TREND 4.5 The number of casualties involved in traffic accidents between 1982 and 2002 exhibits a trend similar to that of the total number of traffic accidents. During the period, the total number of casualties dropped from to , representing a 15% reduction, as illustrated in Figure 4.5. Figure 4.5 Total number of casualties ( ) 17

4 4.6 During the same period, the number of fatalities and serious injuries fell from 453 to 171 and from to respectively (see Figures 4.6 and 4.7). However, the number of slight injuries increased by 20% from to (see Figure 4.8). Figure 4.6 Number of fatalities ( ) Figure 4.7 Number of serious injuries ( ) Figure 4.8 Number of slight injuries ( ) 18

5 Traffic Accident Trends in Hong Kong VEHICLE INVOLVEMENT TREND 4.7 Apart from reviewing the number of traffic accidents and their severity, the Panel has also examined the vehicle involvement rates to assess whether a particular vehicle type is more prone to traffic accidents. For a better appreciation of the mix of vehicles in Hong Kong, the number of different types of licensed vehicles as at 30 June 2003 is set out in Figure 4.9. Figure 4.9 Number of different types of licensed vehicles as at 30 June 2003 Motor cycle/tricycle Private car Taxi Government vehicle Light goods vehicle Medium goods vehicle Heavy goods vehicle Light bus Franchised bus Non-franchised bus Private bus 478 Special purpose vehicle 756 Total From 1982 to 2002, the total number of vehicle involvements in accidents dropped by 12% from to , as shown in Figure As there was an increase in the total number of licensed vehicles from to during the same period, the involvements per vehicles dropped even more significantly by 50%, from 83.5 to However, the Panel notes that in recent years, some vehicle classes such as public buses and public light buses recorded an increase in the absolute number of accident involvements as shown in Figures 4.11 and 4.12 respectively. This development warrants our attention. 19

6 Figure 4.10 Number of vehicles involved in accidents in Hong Kong ( ) Figure 4.11 Number of public buses involved in accidents in Hong Kong ( ) Figure 4.12 Number of public light buses (PLB) involved in accidents in Hong Kong ( ) 20

7 Traffic Accident Trends in Hong Kong COMPARISON OF TRAFFIC ACCIDENT RATES WITH OTHER MAJOR CITIES 4.9 The Panel has also compared Hong Kong s road safety performance with other major cities for bench-marking purposes. Figures 4.13 and 4.14 show Hong Kong s ranking among other major cities in terms of road traffic fatality rate per million population and per kilometre of road. Similar comparisons on the number of road accidents per year are shown in Figures 4.15 and Hong Kong has one of the lowest rates in terms of fatalities per million population and accidents per population. In terms of fatalities and number of accidents per kilometre of road, Hong Kong is one of the cities with higher rates, probably because the total length of roads in Hong Kong is relatively short but the road usage is high. The Panel notes that the per vehicle-kilometre accident rate is another commonly used parameter. As data on this parameter for major overseas cities are not readily available, no comparison is made in this report. Figure 4.13 Fatality rate per million population in different cities 21

8 Figure 4.14 Fatality rate per kilometre of road in different cities Figure 4.15 Accident rate per population in different cities Figure 4.16 Accident rate per kilometre of road in different cities 22

9 Traffic Accident Trends in Hong Kong OBSERVATIONS 4.10 The Panel concludes that despite an increase in population and vehicles, there has been a reduction in the total number of traffic accidents and fatalities in the past two decades. A similar reduction was recorded for the casualty rates. However, the increase in slight accidents and in the number of accidents involving public buses and public light buses warrants attention As for international comparison, Hong Kong s road safety performance is on par with other major cities. Hong Kong compares favourably with other cities for the per population accident rate but less favourably in terms of the rate per kilometre of road. The Panel considers that there is always room for improvement. 23

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