LegCo Panel on Transport
Solo Driving Lessons within
the Premises of Driving Schools


This paper informs Members of a proposal to amend the Road Traffic (Driving Licences) Regulations to provide for solo driving lessons in designated driving schools in Hong Kong.


2. Solo driving is a form of training for learner drivers whereby they practise driving unaccompanied but supervised by driving instructors nearby. This kind of training is useful in enhancing a learner driver’s confidence in handling a vehicle on his own.

3. The three designated off-road driving schools run by the Hong Kong School of Motoring (HKSM) have been providing, on an experimental and optional basis, solo driving lessons for parking and turn-about exercises at dedicated fenced areas within the driving school premises. A high record of safety and effectiveness has been achieved. Since 1990, there have been only eight minor incidents (without any injuries) associated with solo training against a total of 220 000 hours of such lessons conducted for about 110 000 learners.


4. To ensure a high safety standard, a number of measures have been introduced for the solo driving lessons. These will continue to be adopted. Details are as follows :-

  1. Solo training is allowed only off-road, within the premises of designated driving schools;
  2. Learner drivers must have completed at least 12 hours of driving lessons and passed a competence test before they are allowed to take up solo training;
  3. Vehicles used for solo training are installed with the following additional safety devices -
      remote engine cut-off control system - the engine of a training vehicle will automatically cut off if the vehicle is out of the training range
      remote control braking system - the instructor can stop the training vehicle within one second by a remote control panel fixed in his booth
      accelerator restrictor - the accelerator of the training vehicle is fixed to limit the speed of the vehicle to below 10 km per hour
      tyre guard barriers - the training range is bound by rubber tyres to prevent training vehicles from running out of the range and reduce damages caused by collision;
  4. The instructor’s booth is elevated so that he would have a full view over the training range;
  5. A wireless intercom system is installed in the instructor’s booth and the training vehicle to facilitate communication between the instructor and the learner driver; and
  6. The instructor-to-learner driver ratio is restricted to no more than 1:3, at any one time.

Learner Drivers’ Views

5. A survey on the usefulness of solo training shows that, of the 132 learner drivers interviewed, about 80% were in favour of having solo training as part of their course curriculum, and 94% believed that solo training had helped build up their confidence.

Implications on the Number of Driving Instructors

6. Solo training is an optional programme provided only to those who have completed the minimum hours of driver training and passed an internal competence test of HKSM. It does not replace normal training. At most it constitutes a small portion of a full driving instruction course. The proposal therefore will have no effect on the number of driving instructors employed by HKSM. Since solo training is provided only within off-road driving schools, it has no impact on the business of non-HKSM driving instructors.


7. The solo training system practised by HKSM is considered to be a safe and effective means of training learner drivers and building up their confidence. We propose to amend regulation 30(1) and (3) of the Road Traffic (Driving Licences) Regulations to allow such training on an optional basis in designated driving schools. The necessary safety conditions will be stipulated in the Code of Practice to be issued to such driving schools.

Transport Branch
15 January, 1997

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