The Fire Services Department (FSD) will launch the second phase of the six-month Driving Video Recording System (DVRS) trial scheme tomorrow (April 20).
The FSD has made reference to an analysis report prepared by a special task force on the installation of a DVRS on six fire appliances in the first phase of the trial scheme. As the results were positive and showed that the expected effect can be achieved, the FSD will launch the second phase of the trial scheme in addition to installing DVRSs on some frontline fire appliances in this financial year.
A spokesman for the FSD said today (April 19) that, given the increasing demand for emergency services, and that road traffic and the traffic network in Hong Kong have become heavier and more complicated, the number of traffic accidents involving FSD vehicles has increased in recent years. Traffic accidents may result in injuries to vehicle passengers (including FSD staff) and other road users. There may also be delays caused to FSD vehicles in providing emergency services, thus affecting the safety of those in need of help and the efficiency of emergency operations.
In the second phase of the trial scheme, a DVRS will be installed on two ambulances of same model. Each system has six cameras, including two at the front (wide and telephoto dual cameras), one on the left side, one on the right side, one on the roof and one at the rear. (Please refer to Annex 1 for the positions of the six cameras.)
Prominent signs are displayed on ambulances installed with a DVRS so that other road users will notice that the vehicles are fitted with the system. (Please refer to Annex 2 on the DVRS sign.)
"The cameras will help reduce blind spots to enhance safe driving. In the event of a traffic incident, the video footage will assist both the Police and the FSD in their investigations into the cause of the incident. The FSD may put in place appropriate training for drivers to improve their skill and responsiveness based on the cause of the incident identified. If it is revealed in the footage that there was unnecessary delay in responding to an emergency call caused by road users' failure to give way to an ambulance, the footage may be provided as evidence to assist police investigations," the spokesman said.
The DVRS has a video recording function but no audio recording function. Also, it only captures views outside the vehicle and not of the driver or passengers inside the vehicle.
The DVRS will be automatically activated when the engine of the vehicle is started and will be deactivated when the engine is stopped. The system will record images captured simultaneously by the six cameras. The images recorded will be stored on a built-in data memory card which can store footage up to five hours in length. When the memory capacity is full, subsequent video recordings will overwrite the earlier footage. To prevent unauthorised access to the data collected, the memory card of the DVRS will be locked. Only authorised persons using a special tool provided by the manufacturer will be able to retrieve and review the memory card and handle the video information.
"When an ambulance installed with a DVRS is involved in a traffic incident, we will retrieve and retain the relevant video footage for investigation into the cause of the incident and analysis. All the video clips will be destroyed upon completion of the above and any subsequent legal procedures. If some of the video footage is considered suitable for driver training purposes, it will be retained for such use after removing images that involve personal data."
"We have consulted the Department of Justice and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong, on the proposed trial scheme and have been assured that the scheme does not contravene relevant legislation. We have also devised a mechanism and guidelines to ensure the proper handling and disposal of the video footage. Details of the trial scheme will be uploaded to the FSD's homepage and the FSD's intranet for perusal by the public and FSD personnel."
"The FSD will conduct a review upon completion of the second phase of the trial scheme to determine the way forward. We will continue to listen to the views of our staff and the public, with a view to refining various arrangements of the trial scheme," the spokesman added.