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Traffic accidents on rise in mountains

Update: March, 26/2015 - 09:09
A coach travels through a winding stretch of Ma Pi Leng Pass in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang. There is a rise in traffic accidents occuring in rural and mountainous areas, a National Traffic Safety Committee official said. — VNA/VNS Photo Nhat Anh

HA NOI (VNS) — The number of traffic accidents in rural and mountainous areas is rising more than in other regions, highlighting the need to disseminate more traffic safety information, said Khuat Viet Hung, deputy chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee.

His warning came as Road and Railway Transport Police Department statistics showed that there were nearly 16,800 traffic accidents nationwide from November 16, 2013 to March 20, 2015, killing 7,056 people and injuring 9,372.

Of these, about 1,260 accidents occurred in the northern mountainous provinces of Vinh Phuc, Ha Giang, Bac Kan, Cao Bang, Lang Son and Lai Chau, causing the deaths of 720 people and injuring 644 others.

Deputy Minister of Transport Le Dinh Tho said the traffic safety committees in localities played an important role in improving road safety. To change people's awareness on the issue, it was necessary to know the culture of ethnic minority people in that region, he said.

Tho asked the northern provinces' traffic safety committees to enhance the dissemination of information and education on road safety laws, focusing on the production of radio and television programmes and publications in both Vietnamese and ethnic minority languages.

According to Nguyen Sy Hai Son, a representative from the Committee for Ethnic Minorities' Information Department, transport infrastructure's shortcomings should be blamed for the increase in traffic accidents.

Although infrastructure in these regions had been upgraded and many roads had been either restored or rebuilt, most of the routes lacked traffic signals and warning systems, Son told Tin tuc (News).

Not enough barriers had been installed, he said. In addition, ethnic people's low awareness of laws on traffic contributed to the problem. It was very difficult to help people learn more about road safety in the mountainous regions, due to the vast terrain and language differences, he said.

Nguyen Thanh Tung, chief of Quang Ninh Province's Traffic Safety Committee Secretariat, said the information was disseminated mainly through radio systems during rush hours and the installment of electronic notice boards at tourism sites and festivals. A group of artists also perform short plays on traffic safety for people in rural and ethnic minority areas.

Nguyen Quang Thanh, chief of Phu Tho Province's Traffic Safety Committee Secretariat, said the committee has co-ordinated with organisations and agencies to disseminate traffic safety information. They enlisted 108 film-screening teams to travel around showing short films on the subject to local residents.

In giving road safety information to ethnic minority people, special attention should be paid to drinking while driving and wearing a helmet, said Khuat Viet Hung, the deputy chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee. — VNS

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