Hong Kong’s Transport Department is to review the requirements for driver health and fitness checks, the department chief has said.

The comment came after an 84-year-old taxi driver was arrested for alleged dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm on Sunday. The taxi he was driving crashed into pedestrians on Fortress Hill Road, injuring five.

North Point crash
Police officers investigating at the scene of the taxi crash on March 5, 2023 in North Point. Photo: RTHK, via video screenshot.

It became the latest in a series of collisions involving elderly drivers. Last month, a taxi driven by a 71-year-old man crashed into an escalator outside a building in Central, injuring at least two.

Under Hong Kong’s driving regulations, those applying for or wishing to renew their licence must declare any illness or disability that could make them a “source of danger” to the public when driving.

Driving licenses for those aged under 60 are valid for 10 years. Those aged 70 or above must renew their licence every one to three years, and they are required to present a physical fitness certification signed by a doctor when renewing their permit.

Commissioner for Transport Rosanna Law said on Commercial Radio on Monday that the administration was reviewing the physical fitness requirement for drivers.

Rosanna Law
Commissioner for Transport Rosanna Law. Photo: GovHK.

However, the government will not set an age limit on professional drivers, and globally it is rare to see an age limit imposed on such drivers, Law said.

“Older people are not necessarily unhealthy, you can still be very healthy,” Law said. “Another thing is that driving is a profession, some people have to drive to earn a living.”

A group with medical experts including geriatricians and physicians had been formed to review if it would be possible to require more tests, such as vision and muscle reaction tests, the transport commissioner said.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.