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Police move gingerly on new law

Update: January, 28/2015 - 08:29
A traffic police officer stops a motorbke on a busy street in HCM City. Traffic police say enforcing the new law on registering vehicle ownership is difficult, so they tend to focus on other violations. — Photo Tuoi tre (Youth) newspaper

HA NOI (VNS) — Traffic police in several northern localities say they are finding it difficult, if not impossible, to enforce a new law that imposes administrative penalties on people failing to register their ownership of used vehicles.

Many traffic police officers in Ha Noi, Ninh Binh, Nam Dinh and Ha Nam told the Tien Phong (The Vanguard) newspaper that if the vehicles had already changed hands several times without re-registration, proving ownership or non-ownership would be a complicated, time-consuming process.

"There is no way of knowing whether the driver of a vehicle running on the road is the registered owner or not unless it is stopped by traffic police for other violations or suspicious crimes," said Colonel Tran Van Luan, head of the Nam Dinh Traffic Police Department.

And even if it is found that the driver is not the registered owner of the vehicle, it is not easy to fine him or her for that offence, according to Luan.

"In many cases where vehicles are stopped for speeding, using the wrong lane or overloading, we also discover that the driver is not the registered owner of the vehicle.

"However, when we want to fine him for not registering as the owner of the vehicle, he would disown it, saying it is borrowed or hired, or that he is authorized to use it."

Dinh Van Ninh, head of Ninh Binh Province Traffic Police Department, said they prefer to focus on violations like speeding, careless driving and drunk-driving and put the ownership registration violation on the backburner for "further consideration," because, "quarrels frequently erupt between drivers and traffic police."

Like their peers in Ninh Binh province, traffic police in Ha Noi are treating this issue almost peripherally, that is, fining the owner for non-registration only in the event that the vehicle is caught for causing an traffic accident, or found illegitimate (stolen), or involved in a crime under investigation.

Ta Ngoc Khanh, an officer at the Ha Noi City Traffic Police Department said all that the capital city's traffic police were doing now was to encourage people to register to have the vehicle owner's name changed when they buy, sell, exchange or give away their vehicles.

Negligible impact

Under the Government Decree (171/2013/ND-CP), a fine of VND1-2 (US$50-100) will be imposed on an individual and VND2-4 ($100-200) on an organisation if either owns a car, tractor, motorbike or an automobile, but fails to register the ownership accordingly.

Further to this rule, the Ministry of Public Security has issued Circular 15 for facilitating registration of changes in ownership of vehicles.

However, these have not had much of an impact.

According to the Ha Noi Traffic Police Department, between April 15, 2013 and November 16, 2014, the department registered ownership changes for 47,765 vehicles (46,941 motorbikes and 824 cars), compared to the 5.4 million vehicles (4,862,028 motorbikes and 501,801 automobiles) that have been registered in the city so far.

Colonel Dao Vinh Thang, head of the Ha Noi Traffic Police Department, blames the low rate of ownership change registration on poor understanding among vehicle owners about their rights to protect their vehicles as assets.

On their side, Thang said, they tried to make it easier for applicants by co-operating with the Ha Noi Post Office in delivering 354 different application forms, including six for car ownership registration and 348 for motorbike owner registration, to the informed addresses as required by applicants in 2014.

Thang also stressed the need to make people aware that not registering an ownership change means that if and when a traffic accident happens involving the vehicle, or when the driver of the vehicle is caught for traffic rule violations, it is always the registered owner that will have to pay the fine even if she/he'd sold it or given it away much earlier. — VNS

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