HA NOI Blood alcohol testing of train drivers has been recommended by specialists to reduce the number of railway accidents.
Road drivers who violate traffic laws were usually blamed when they were involved in an accident with a train, said Viet Nam Railway Department information and signals unit head Nguyen Mau Hoang.
But train drivers were also partly to blame if they assumed trains had priority and failed to blow a warning whistle or to brake when confronted with an obstacle on the tracks.
Hoang said while there was no official survey of train drivers alcohol levels, it was time random blood testing was introduced.
Le Van Cung, a train driver in Yen Vien Railway Station, said driver alcohol levels were never checked at the beginning or during a journey.
Cung said: "Moreover, I have worked as a driver for more than 10 years but I have never received any training to improve my skill, which I learned in Russia."
Experts recommended making regular checks and improving train drivers skills, responsibility and health. They also said relevant local authorities should take responsibility when accidents were due to infrastructure deficiencies. Hoang said the corporation had planned to install convex mirrors and traffic signal lights at railway intersections in an experiment to bring down the number of accidents.
Nguyen Anh Tuan, deputy head of the Railway and Road Police Department said, the department and the corporation would co-operate more in checking and punishing violations along railways.
Tuan said the focus was also on improving knowledge about railway safety.
Deputy minister of Transport Le Manh Hung said his ministry would call for more State funds to provide solutions to the problems. The department s statistics show that over the past 12 months, there have been 564 railway accidents, killing 208 people and injuring 391.
About 90 per cent of rail accidents occur at intersections where there is no safety fence.
The lastest railway accident killed nine people and injured eight others in Ha Noi s Thuong Tin District. The collision was caused when a car driver didn t take sufficient care at an intersection with a broken traffic light.
Railway inspection authorities said many illegal crossings didn t have signs and hindered the vision of drivers and pedestrians. VNS