Approximately 8,685 people lost their lives in traffic accidents across Vietnam in 2016, prompting relevant authorities to establish a new goal to reduce the number in 2017.
The statistic was announced at a tele-conference held on Wednesday to discuss the country’s traffic issues. Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the National Committee for Traffic Safety Truong Hoa Binh chaired the conference.
According to Khuat Viet Hung, vice-chairman of the traffic safety committee, the number of fatalities is only 43 lower than 2015, nowhere near the country’s five percent reduction goal for traffic-related casualties.
Road accidents also injured an additional 19,000 people over the past 12 months, Hung added.
Most tragedies arose from incompliance with traffic regulations, including traveling in the wrong lane, speeding, and drunk driving.
About 67 percent of the accidents in 2016 involved motorcycles, while 27 percent were caused by automobiles.
More than 50 percent were brought about by people between 27 and 55 years old, the official stated, adding that one-third of the collisions involved victims between18 and 27 years old.
Other factors, such as a rise in demand for travel, the degradation of infrastructure, the mushrooming of high-rise apartment buildings, and sluggish public transport projects, also contributed to many of the traffic accidents throughout the country.
During the meeting, Deputy PM Binh praised certain provinces that had managed to reduce the number of traffic-related fatalities by more than 10 percent, namely the southern provinces of An Giang and Tay Ninh.
Vuong Binh Thanh, chairman of the People’s Committee in An Giang, stated that local authorities took specific assertive actions to prevent the crashes.
“The province banned public servants and officials from drinking during the day. Given their positions of authority we chose not to tolerate any of their indiscretions,” Thanh continued.
Tay Ninh applied similar measures, a representative of the provincial administration said, stressing that increasing traffic regulation awareness in the community was absolutely necessary.
Fewer accidents in 2017
The deputy premier agreed that a five percent reduction in tragic accidents and casualties in 2017 compared to 2016 is a reasonable target, adding that alleviating traffic jams in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will also be a primary focus.
He suggested establishing a traffic safety culture in which citizens, particularly young people, are taught to acknowledge and comply with regulations and laws.
He added that leaders and official authorities should also set good examples to local residents through their consistent compliance with traffic laws.
Hotlines should also be available for people to report traffic issues and assist traffic police units in performing their tasks, Deputy PM Binh stated.
Sterner punishment necessary
According to the Ho Chi Minh City traffic police division, approximately 3,852 accidents occurred in the southern hub in 2016, killing 798 people, 100 more than in 2015.
Over 90 percent of the collisions were caused by citizens’ failure to comply with traffic laws.
Aside from poor road quality and traffic infrastructure, a lack of assertiveness in penalties also exacerbated the situation, Captain Tran Thi Hong Nhung, an official from the police division, stated.
Sharing a similar opinion, Lieutenant General Le Dong Phong, director of the city’s Department of Police, said that firmer punishments must be imposed on those who violate traffic regulations.
Lessons on such rules should be added to elementary school curricula in the city, said Nguyen Ngoc Tuong, a separate official from the municipal Traffic Safety Committee.
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