Taxi drivers

City urges taxi drivers not to slap five phones on their dashboard

Proposed rules would require drivers to limit it to two, max

Some people, especially those who drive older cars that don’t have Android-Auto or Apple CarPlay, can sometimes be inclined to take a simpler approach – using their phone. Buy a dash/windshield mount for your phone, and it’s as good as a real head unit. But in Hong Kong, a lot of professional drivers tend to take this a bit…to the extreme, so to speak. It is not uncommon to see taxi drivers and minibus operators plugging in multiple phones, tablets and even radios with distracting displays on the dashboard of their vehicle for navigation, viewing reservations and checking information on traffic. This led to increased casualties on the city’s roads. But there is still hope for good news as authorities are planning measures to deal with this issue.

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Hong Kong Transport and Logistics Bureau (via South China Morning Post) proposes that drivers face fines of up to HK$2,000 (US$255) if they place more than two devices on their car’s dashboard. Traffic officers are reportedly handing out HK$450 (US$57) tickets for first offenses, while repeat offenders and some of the most serious cases will have their penalties imposed by the courts.

The proposal also aims to lift other restrictions on the types of smart devices you can use in your car. For one, you can only use tablets with screens up to 7.1 inches diagonally. The position of the devices must also not interfere with the driver’s view or his ability to see the road ahead.

Currently, Hong Kong only penalizes drivers who talk on the phone while driving.

Lobbyists for public taxi and light bus drivers generally support the two-device limit, but are less supportive of another proposal that would require operators to use only voice commands for their devices.

Other suggestions for new safety rules include mandates for seat belts on all public transport vehicles on the road and helmets for motorcyclists.