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Traffic death toll on the rise in VietnamOver 12,000 traffic accidents occurred across the nation in the first five months of the year, killing 4,163 people – 28 more than the same period last year – and injuring 12,171.

Though the death toll has gone up, the number of accidents was 2,000 fewer than the same period last year. This proves that, when accidents happen, they are more violent.

Authorities in nine provinces were warned over a 30 percent increase in the death toll in their localities, including Dak Nong, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Phu Tho, Ninh Thuan, Thua Thien – Hue, Binh Thuan, Lang Son, Son La, and Lao Cai.

Though it faced a 77 percent increase in the traffic death toll, the central province of Khanh Hoa was not reprimanded since its authorities implemented strong measures.

“Mr. Thang [Nguyen Chien Thang – chairman of the People’s Committee of Khanh Hoa] asserted that he will step down from the post should the number of traffic accidents and the death toll continue to rise in his locality,” said Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at an online conference on traffic safety on Wednesday.

“The responsibility is acceptable for his excuse,” Phuc added.

Last year, almost 10,000 people were killed and 38,000 more were injured in traffic accidents.

Drug use

According to Transport Minister Dinh La Thang, the most common traffic violations include driving in the wrong lane, accounting for 24-32 percent; speeding, 18-24 percent; and unlawful overtaking, with 12-19 percent.

Drug usage by drivers has emerged as a major cause of accidents.

The 10-km section of National Highway 1A in Ho Chi Minh City, as well as many other highway stretches nationwide, have long been populated by addicts, many of whom are truck drivers.

The section of highway from the An Suong intersection to the Ga intersection in District 12 is considered a ‘drug haven’ because local police have failed to make the connection between reckless driving by addicted drivers and the number of accidents in the area.

In reality, thousands of addicts from provinces nationwide stop along the road section to get drugs from vendors every day.

Police have admitted that drug tests administered after accidents have found that more and more bus drivers are on drugs. This could explain why buses on deserted stretches of highway plunge into rice fields or crash into houses.

However, many bus owners said they have no choice but to hire addicts because of a shortage of experienced drivers. One owner admitted addicts were usually skilled and experienced because they had done the job for so long, and problems only arose when they couldn’t find drugs.

Drivers say they often fall into drug use because they spend so much time away from their families. Often an experimental dabble in drugs develops into a deep addition.

Instructions

At the conference, deputy PM Phuc required State officials in various agencies to set an example by strictly complying with traffic laws.

Leaders are banned from abusing their power and relationships to intervene in decisions by traffic policemen in punishing violators, he said. In addition, officials in State-owned units are strictly banned from drinking beer or alcohol during lunch.

Deputy police minister Pham Quy Ngo suggested considering the responsibility owners hold in forcing drivers to carry excessive loads.

Currently, Vietnam has a regulation that bans drivers from operating a vehicle for five consecutive hours, but in reality police cannot supervise this because few firms have installed black boxes in their buses and trucks.

A test campaign to install black boxes in 1,200 trucks and buses showed that drivers routinely flout this regulation. On average, a bus driver drives over the speed limit 22 times a day, according to Nguyen Van Huyen – chief inspector of the Ministry of Transport.

(Tuoi Tre News)

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