Q2. If I let my child sit on the driver's seat to play with the steering wheel while the car is stopped, will I be charged?
Section 42(3) of the Road Traffic Ordinance (Cap. 374) provides that “no person shall suffer or permit a motor vehicle to be driven by a person who is not the holder of a driving licence of the class to which such vehicle belongs”. The question here, therefore, is whether your car is being “driven” by your child.
Regulation 42(1)(a) of the Road Traffic (Traffic Control) Regulations (Cap. 374G) also provides that a driver shall not “when driving a motor vehicle on a road permit any person not being a driving instructor to grasp or interfere with the steering, gearing or braking mechanism of the vehicle”.
In the hypothetical scenario, “…while the car is stopped” is somewhat ambivalent. Is it stopped in the middle of a traffic jam? Is it stopped by the roadside or in a parking lot? Is the key in the ignition? Is the engine still running? As discussed above, there is no statutory definition of the word “driving”. We can only say that if you let your child play with the steering wheel when the engine is still running or the key in the ignition, no matter in what manner the vehicle is stopped, you probably have committed the aforesaid offence under section 42(3) of the Road Traffic Ordinance (Cap. 374) and regulation 42(1)(a) of the Road Traffic (Traffic Control) Regulations (Cap. 374G).