|Cyclists ride along a small path in rural An Tien Commune, Hai Phong. Traffic accidents rose in rural areas during the first quarter of 2015. — VNA/VNS Photo Dinh Hue
HA NOI (VNS) — An online meeting organised by the National Traffic Safety Committee in Ha Noi on Tuesday highlighted a rise in traffic accidents in rural areas.
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who is also chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee, chaired the meeting. Attendees reviewed traffic safety projects from the first quarter of the year and discussed ways to improve their efforts. Road-related deaths increased by 10 per cent in 16 cities and provinces in the first quarter of the year.
Phuc criticised leaders of provinces with the most traffic accidents and said road safety violations needed to be met with tough punishments.
He also asked road safety committees and People's Committee chairmen to learn from their mistakes and make progress in the coming quarter. Authorities needed to hire more mobile patrol units, and co-ordinate more with transport police and local night-watchmen.
The State's road safety management offices and media should also create easy-to-understand information programmes to spread information to rural people, he said. He asked the northern provinces' traffic safety committees to produce radio programmes, television specials and publications in Vietnamese and ethnic minority languages.
Phuc also urged provincial authorities to strengthen examination of transport enterprises and install weighing stations.
Nguyen Van Thanh, chairman of Viet Nam Automobile Transport Association, said most transport enterprises ignored their responsibility to manage their drivers and make sure they had adequate skills.
At the meeting, most participants agreed that although the number of traffic accidents, deaths and injuries had decreased in all cities and provinces, they were rising in rural and mountainous areas.
In the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, for example, 46 per cent of traffic accidents occurred in rural and ethnic minority areas.
Poor infrastructure, awareness and road safety management could have caused the increase, meeting attendees said. Increased police presence at tourist-heavy areas could help.
A representative from the southern province of Tay Ninh said that in order to change people's thinking about road safety, it was important to understand ethnic minority cultures in the region. Current programmes spreading safety tips weren't suitable to how local people digested information, he said.
The country saw 5,8000 traffic accidents in the first quarter of the year, according to the Ministry of Transport. The collisions resulted in 2,345 deaths and 5,488 injuries.
Compared with last year, the number of traffic accidents fell 731, the number of deaths fell 82 and injuries fell 974.
However, more people died than last year in 23 out of 63 cities and provinces. Twice as many people died in Binh Duong, Hai Duong, Gia Lai, Bac Ninh and An Giang provinces.
A representative from the Ha Noi Police said the number of traffic accidents, deaths, and injuries in the capital city went down over the first three months of the year, thanks to the strict implementation of road safety measures.
There were 141 traffic accidents, killing 145 people and injuring 49 others. Compared with the first three months of last year, the number of accidents fell by 31, deaths by 4 and injuries by 51.
Ha Noi Police responded to 123,481 traffic violations and gave out fines worth VND33 billion. A total of 5,000 vehicles were seized. — VNS