|Self-modified vehicles that were banned in 2008 on grounds of traffic safety and environmental pollution are still being used nationwide because of a lack of affordable alternatives as well as poor enforcement. — VNS Photo Doan Tung
HA NOI (VNS) — Nearly 10,000 self-modified and three-wheeled vehicles ply the roads nationwide, despite their being banned in 2008, the Ministry of Transport said on Friday.
It said the banned vehicles were in frequent use in Ha Noi's suburban districts of Phu Xuyen, Ung Hoa and Chuong My, as well as provinces like Hoa Binh, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Dak Lak, Hau Giang and Long An.
In the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, for example, some 5,000 unregistered and manually driven mini tractors were being used in agricultural production.
Many owners had modified their vehicles' steering mechanism by replacing their shafts without permission from relevant authorities, according to the province's Department of Transport.
The province had organised classes to help procure driving license, but only two to three per cent of the total owners of such vehicles passed the theory and practical examinations, a representative from the province's Department of Transport revealed.
Tran Van Toan, a 54-year-old owner of a three-wheeled vehicle in the Tu Liem District, said that he had continued to drive the vehicle because this was his only means of income that helped him feed his 5-member family residing in the northern Hung Yen Province.
Toan added that he had already heard about the financial support packages announced for vehicle owners, but had not received any such package so far.
"However, even if I am given such support, VND5 million (US$230) will surely neither help me set up a business nor buy another vehicle," he said.
According to the Viet Nam Register, the country is yet to establish any standards for motor vehicles, so self-modified vehicles' quality cannot be verified.
Therefore, last week the Ministry of Transport was urged to formulate regulations regarding the issue soon.
In addition to the shortcomings in policies and poor enforcement of rules, Deputy Minister of Transport Le Dinh Tho, blamed the prevalence of such vehicles on the lack of other suitable options meant to replace these banned vehicles.
Mini trucks recommended to replace modified vehicles had been found suitable for running in the delta, but not mountainous areas, he pointed out.
In 2007, the Government had decided to ban and seize self-modified vehicles across the country to ease the growing traffic jams and reduce the number of accidents.
To help poor residents who operate these vehicles to earn a living, the government announced incentives and support measures two years later that would help these individuals find new jobs or buy other kinds of vehicles to replace their banned ones.
Accordingly, each family, which had two or more three and four-wheeled vehicles, will receive $230 per vehicle as assistance. — VNS