These new regulations have been lined out in a new document issued by the Ministry of Transport because of the safety risks they pose and the damage they do to the nation's roads and highways. The document took effect in the middle of last month.
All transport departments have been asked to cease exemptions for the granting of certificates of conformity for quality, technical safety and environmental safety, for modified vehicles that fall into certain categories: tipper lorries that are modified from vans; vans that are modified from tipper; vans or tipper lorries that have been modified from tractors or passenger coaches.
Trinh Ngoc Giao, General Director of the ministry's Viet Nam Register Administration (VRA), said that, previously, many truck owners and drivers took advantage of the permission to modify their vehicles to change their capacity, thereby increasing the amount of goods they were legally allowed to carry.
The effects of this not only damaged roads and strained the vehicles' intended weight limit, but also increased traffic danger, he said.
In the past, passenger coaches that had expired certificates, after 20 years of use, could be modified for five years, in order to take some of the burden off vehicle owners, Giao said.
"It's time to update this regulation, because road safety is becoming one of the biggest priorities when it comes to vehicle policy," he said.
The ministry also asked VRA to develop a circular which would concern motor vehicle improvement, expected to be finalised next month and soon to replace the current Decision/2005/QD-BGTVT, issued seven years ago.
At the same time, the new regulations have caused headaches for the drivers and owners of transport vehicles.
One truck owner, Hoang Em from HCM City's Binh Chanh District, commented to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, that he had spent over VND70 million (US$3,300) to re-furbish his second hand trailer-truck, which was only worth about VND100 million ($4,700).
By enlarging the rear platform of the truck, he could get more contracts to transport agricultural products, such as animal feed. The modifications made it possible to more easily load and unload products, he said.
However, he said the vehicle was disqualified for certification, adding that he was now obligated to make additional investment to make cosmetic changes back to its original design.
Hua Van Chinh, owner of Ba Chia Automobile Services in HCM City's Binh Tan District, said that most trucks that carried frozen goods were required by their clients to enhance their capacity in order to stay competitive.
He said that a truck designed to carry 13-15 tonnes might only have the capacity for around 11 tonnes because of the weight of packaging.
Vice chairman of HCM City Goods Transportation Association Dinh Nam Dinh, said that vehicle owners would be able to save money by making other changes to their vehicles.
It was not convincible to say modified truck damaged road quality, he said, adding that authorities should examine modified vehicles closely before granting certificates instead of issuing restrictions that might hamper the industry.