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Underage drivers face crackdown in capital

Update: September, 15/2012 - 09:04

 

Students drive motorbikes to school in Ha Noi. — VNS Photo
HA NOI – (VNS) Hundreds of students have been caught and punished for traffic violations in the last month after a concentrated crackdown by Ha Noi police.

A host of increasingly severe measures have been implemented in the fight to stop underage drivers, with police focusing their efforts on students driving motorbikes to school.

Inspections and patrols have been taking place around the city's educational facilities and nearby parking lots, with many underage offenders being caught and disciplined for violations ranging from driving without helmets, carrying an excessive number of passengers, speeding and illegally passing through red lights. Those who get caught can now expect fines that may rise to several million dong, and notifications will be sent to their families.

According to the National Committee for Traffic Safety, road traffic accidents are the highest cause of fatalities in the country. More than 70 per cent of accidents are caused by young people driving motorbikes aged between 15 and 19.

The Law on Road Traffic stipulates that those who are under 18 are not allowed a driving licence for motorbikes with a capacity of 70 cubic metres or more, yet underage driving remains a huge problem.

Nguyen Duc Anh, a student of Viet Nam-Germany High School said he started driving several months ago when he was in the 12th grade.

His school, like most others, bans their students from illegally driving so he and his friends resorted to parking their vehicles far from school to avoid being discovered.

"My friend has been caught and warned about driving without a licence. If he gets found doing it a second time he will be expelled from school," he said.

Nguyen Phuong Dung, Duc Anh's mother admitted that she lets him drive to school to save time as he has many additional classes in the evenings.

"Buses are not convenient and I can't spend all day taking him around the city," she said.

Lieutenant-colonel Nguyen Ngoc Me, head of the Ha Noi Police's Traffic Police Unit 6 said that a lack of action from parents has made the problem worse.

"Many parents buy motorbikes for their children or let them drive when they're not old enough. They think it will help their children study, but they are actually allowing them to break the law," Me said.

Senior lieutenant colonel Nguyen Duy Ngoc, head of the Ha Noi Traffic Police Department, believed that the recent crackdown was progressing successfully but more co-operation was still needed. Some 55,000 notifications have been sent to the workplaces and homes of traffic violators, but only 3.8 per cent have been replied to. Of the 400 notifications sent to schools in the city, only one-fourth were answered. — VNS

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