Which traffic offenses can lead to a prison sentence in Hong Kong?

traffic offenses that lead to prison sentence in Hong Kong

A traffic offense is a form of a criminal offense and, in certain cases, it can even lead to a prison sentence in Hong Kong. In today’s article by Kwiksure, we will list the most common traffic offenses that can put you in jail in Hong Kong and we will explain the penalties for each of them. Along with this article, drivers can find laws governing the traffic offenses in the Road Traffic Ordinance, Chapter 374

Traffic offenses that can lead to a prison sentence in Hong Kong

Interestingly enough, four out of the 5 most common traffic offenses in Hong Kong may lead to a jail sentence. These include: dangerous driving, careless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and driving without auto insurance. Let’s look at the consequences of particular traffic offenses in Hong Kong in greater detail. 

Dangerous driving

Dangerous driving as per the description from the Road Traffic Ordinance is driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for others using the road. Many traffic offenses fall under this category.  

Potential penalty: Up to a fine of HKD 20,000 and up to 3 years of imprisonment.


If a bodily injury occurs to a person due to the racing on the streets, drivers might face serious consequences.  

Potential penalty: Up to 2 years of imprisonment.  

Not abiding by road signs and traffic lights

This point might be surprising to some, but drivers who don’t comply with traffic lights and signs may face a jail sentence in Hong Kong. Common mistakes frequently committed by Hong Kong drivers include not stopping in front of the “stop” sign or driving through an amber light. 

Potential penalty: The maximum penalty for a first conviction is a fine of HKD 5,000 and imprisonment for 3 months. The penalty doubles for the second and further conviction to a fine of HKD 10,000 and imprisonment for 6 months. 

Careless driving 

Careless driving is driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for others using the road, and, similarly to dangerous driving, many traffic offenses fall under this category, for example, unsafe overtaking. 

Potential penalty: A maximum penalty of HKD 5,000 and up to 6 months of imprisonment, depending on the action. 

Causing grievous bodily harm by dangerous driving

If a driver causes grievous bodily harm to another person by driving a motor vehicle on a road dangerously, he or she commits an offense. 

Potential penalty: Up to a fine of HKD 50,000 and 7 years of imprisonment.

Causing death by dangerous driving

If another person dies as a result of dangerous driving, the driver can bear heavy consequences of his or her actions. 

Potential penalty: Up to a fine of HKD 50,000 and 10 years of imprisonment. 

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs in Hong Kong is strictly prohibited. Also, as it pertains to motor insurance, claims made for property damage due to drunk driving will most likely not be accepted. 

Potential penalty: A fine of up to HKD 25,000, and/or a jail sentence of up to 5 years. The severity of the penalty depends on whether the drunk driving was coupled with another driving offense, e.g. careless driving, and more so if there is any resulting injury to persons as a result of that driving.

Driving whilst disqualified

It is an offense to drive a vehicle while being ordered by the court not to drive. 

Potential penalty: If convicted, there is a maximum fine of HKD 10,000, imprisonment of 12 months, and disqualification from driving for 12 months for a first offense. If convicted again, the disqualification period is 3 years or more.

Driving without third party insurance

We have written about the obligation of every driver to have third party insurance, sometimes also referred to as 3rd party insurance, for their vehicles on multiple occasions, and the reasoning for that is quite simple. If a driver who injured a person doesn't have the financial means to pay for damages, the injured person would have to cover the cost of his or her treatments by themselves, which doesn't seem fair as it wasn't their fault. Therefore, the HK Government wants to make sure that all vehicles running on the roads are covered by compulsory third party insurance to solve that very problem. 

Potential penalty: Disqualification from driving for 12 months to 3 years, 12 months of imprisonment, and a fine of HKD 10,000 for a first-time offense. 

Motor insurance advice from Kwiksure

While our only advice to drivers in Hong Kong is to drive safely, know the rules and abide by them, there is one thing we can help you with: getting the best possible motor insurance in Hong Kong

When looking for car insurance in Hong Kong, our advisers at Kwiksure are here to help in negotiating the best premiums and benefits. With almost 20 years experience in providing motor insurance solutions for Hong Kong drivers and awards gained over these years, Kwiksure is your trusted partner for all insurance matters

For a free quote or some helpful advice, contact the team at Kwiksure today!



The above information is for reference only. Kwiksure takes no responsibility for the accuracy and timeliness of the information. For the coverage, mode of compensation, benefit limit and premium levels of any specific insurance plan, please refer to the relevant policy terms.