Taxi driver hinders ambulance on emergency call, prompting public outcry for greater vigilance

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24th February 2024 – (Hong Kong) In a recent incident in Ho Man Tin, Hong Kong, a taxi driver’s failure to observe his surroundings before changing lanes nearly resulted in an accident with an oncoming ambulance, which was responding to an emergency with flashing lights and siren activated. The event, captured on a 41-second video shared on a local Facebook group, has sparked significant criticism from netizens.

The video shows the taxi initially changing lanes, causing a white private car to come to a sudden stop to avoid a collision. The taxi driver, possibly obstructed by the white car and without checking the rear-view mirror carefully, proceeded to change lanes again, this time halting the progress of the ambulance behind him for nearly three seconds. Fortunately, another taxi driver ahead moved forward to create space, allowing the obstructing taxi to reverse and clear the way for the ambulance to proceed to its life-saving mission.

The reaction online to the video was swift and severe, with many condemning the taxi driver’s apparent lack of awareness. Comments ranged from questioning the driver’s hearing to concerns over taxi drivers being overly focused on their dashboard-mounted phones. Some netizens suggested that the government should legislate the number of phones a taxi can have on the dashboard to reduce traffic accidents.

The incident has brought to the forefront discussions about the obligations of drivers under the Hong Kong Road Traffic (Traffic Control) Regulations, Cap 374G, Section 46, which states that drivers must give way or take all possible actions to allow the passage of emergency vehicles with audible or visible signals. Failure to comply, without reasonable excuse, constitutes an offence with a potential fine of HK$2,000.