LegCo Panel on Transport
Overloading of Goods Vehicles
This paper informs Members about the results of the review on the overloading problem associated with goods vehicles and further measures proposed to address this problem.
2. The penalties for overloading and other vehicle loading offences were reviewed in 1994. This resulted in increases in the fixed penalty for overloading from $450 to $1,000 from 1 April 1994 and that for insecure loading from $280 to $450 from 1 June 1994. In addition, an amendment was made to the Road Traffic (Traffic Control) Regulations to impose strict liability on owners of goods vehicles for overloading offences.
3. The Administration agreed to monitor and review the effectiveness of the above amendments in tackling the problem of overloading.
4. A comparison of the enforcement figures for the past three years is as follows:
No. of tickets issued for overloading offences
1996 (up to October)
5. The figures indicate increased Police enforcement effort since overloading was made a STEP (Selective Traffic Enforcement Policy) offence.
6. The following additional measures have been considered to tackle the problem.
Further Measures to Deter Overloading
7. The Administration will pursue the following measures:
(a) Encouraging the Installation of On-vehicle Weighing Devices
8. Some drivers claim that they cannot accurately estimate the actual weight of loaded vehicles. This may be remedied by installing on-board vehicle weighing devices. The cost of one machine plus installation is about $30,000 to $70,000. As an incentive, the Administration is considering whether this item could be exempted from the calculation of First Registration Tax to minimize the capital outlay of vehicle owners.
(b) Increasing the Use of Mobile Weighing Devices
9. The use of mobile weighing devices will be increased. Such devices will be more intensively utilized during the routine enforcement actions by the Police, including placing them at the exits of construction sites. Contractors will be encouraged to have the vehicles weighed before they leave the construction sites, so that drivers are aware of the weight of the load they are carrying.
(c) Additional Weighstations
10. The Administration agrees that more weighstations should be provided for enforcement purpose. Wherever possible, weighstations will be provided at entrances to new expressways. Since additional space would be required for vehicles to pull out and be weighed, its feasibility will be examined in consultation with relevant departments. Initially, suitable locations at Route 3 and Route 10 will be identified for further study.
(d) Stepping Up Enforcement Action
11. In order to strengthen the deterrent effect, the Administration will enhance enforcement action against repeated offenders. One possible means under consideration is to step up the issue of summons.
12. The Police will also strengthen enforcement action at targeted overloading black spots. Transport Department maintains regular contact with goods vehicles drivers associations and receives reports from them on overloading blackspots. These reports have been passed to the Police for follow-up enforcement actions.
Consignors to be Held Responsible for Overloading Offences
13. Strict liability of overloading offences on consignors has been proposed. This has legal implications and practical problems:
- the requirement would be based on the presumption that consignors are able to control the use of the vehicles, which is not always the case. It is more likely that consignors do not have control over the management and operation of the vehicles provided by the trucking service companies or forwarders;
- it is not unusual that consignors arrange transportation of their consignments through a number of contractors and subcontractors. It would not be fair to hold these consignors responsible if the vehicles employed by their contractors/subcontractors were overloaded;
- there could be cases where one consignment in itself would not overload a vehicle but the driver may carry several consignments at one time thus overloading the vehicle; and
- the Attorney Generals Chambers have advised that placing proof of moral blamelessness on consignors appears to infringe the presumption of innocence and against Article 11(1) of the Bill of Rights Ordinance.
14. This proposal was examined at length when the penalties for overloading were last reviewed. The Administration is of the view that the considerations at the time are still valid today.
Other Points Raised
15. The Administration has considered other suggestions and would like to comment as follows:
(a)Creating a New Vehicle Classification for Dumper Trucks
to Facilitate Monitoring and Weighing Dumper Trucks at Dumping Sites
16. The Police are vigilantly enforcing the provisions on overloading offences for all types of goods vehicles. For the purpose of enforcement, there is no need to differentiate dumper trucks from other types of goods vehicles, and a new classification is not necessary.
17. Weighing dumper trucks at dumping sites will have resource and staffing implications for both the trade and Government. We will investigate further how the various difficulties could be overcome in consultation with the trade.
(b) Demerit Points System
18. This is seen as a drastic measure which may seriously affect the livelihood of drivers and should be implemented as a last resort.
19. The Police is now issuing summonses to goods vehicle owners after 20 (instead of the previously 30) fixed penalty tickets have been issued. The deterrent effect of this measure on overloading offences is being monitored.
(c) Increasing the Amount of the Fixed Penalty for Overloading Offences
20. The amount of the fixed penalty has been substantially increased in the last exercise and any further increase is likely to have a marginal deterrent effect. In any case, the trade considers that such penalties are ineffective because the tickets are ultimately paid by the contractors.
The Way Forward
21. We will step up liaison with the trade and continue to investigate the feasibility of other measures.
Last Updated on 21 August 1998