HA NOI Violations along railway corridors are the main reason for an increase in railway accidents this year, according to a senior official from the Ministry of Public Security.
"About 90 per cent of railway accidents occur at intersections where there is no safety fence," said Tran Son, deputy head of the Traffic Accidents Investigation and Instruction Unit of the Road and Railway Traffic Police Department.
The number of deaths and injuries caused by railway accidents in the past 11 months exceeds last year s figures, according to statistics supplied by the General Department of Police within the ministry.
Over the past 11 months, there have been 391 railway accidents, killing 178 people and injuring 259 others. Compared to last year, the number of deaths increased by four and the number of injuries, by 14.
Son said a lack awareness among residents and violations along railway safety corridors were the primary reasons for the increase in accidents.
"Crossing road and railway intersections requires a lot of caution, but many people drive at high speeds and don t pay attention," Son said.
Serious violations along railway corridors have been discovered and a large number of illegal intersections have been created.
"There is no accurate figure of the illegal intersections but they are estimated in the thousands," Son said.
According to Nguyen Chien, deputy director of Ha Thai Railway Management Company, railway corridor violations include the establishment of temporary kiosks for selling goods and informal markets set up at different times of day.
Figures from 2008 revealed that there were 304 violation areas along the 34km of railway in Ha Noi.
Railway inspection authorities said the illegal crossings didn t have signs and hindered the vision of drivers and pedestrians.
Meanwhile, many intersections had degraded to substandard levels.
Nguyen Trong Thai, deputy head of the National Traffic Safety Committee Bureau, admitted that adequate investment had not been spent on many intersections.
Therefore, examinations of all intersections should be completed to determine upgrade needs, he said.
From now until 2020, about VND4.1 trillion (US$216 million) will be spent on restoring safe rail crossings nationwide, according to Nguyen Van Doanh, deputy director of the Viet Nam Railway Department.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Transport and the National Traffic Safety Committee have co-operated with relevant agencies in regions to investigate violations and to ask organisations and individuals to destroy or remove anything in the way of railway traffic.
"From 2009 to 2010, the sector will provide compensation and remove any structures that interrupt railway traffic, including fences, flyovers and handrails. From 2011 to 2020, overpasses will be built at railway and highway intersections," he said. VNS