|A traffic police officer measures the alcohol concentration of a driver's breath. Photo vietnamplus.vn
HA NOI – Despite the decline in traffic accidents since 2012, up to 26 people die every day on Viet Nam's roads.
Nguyen Trong Thai, Chief of the Secretariat of the National Traffic Safety Committee, announced this statistic at a seminar held on Wednesday on the behaviour of drivers who had consumed alcohol.
Statistics from the World Health Organisation showed that alcohol was a factor in 36.5 per cent of all traffic accidents in Viet Nam last year. Some 35.7 per cent of these accidents involved male drivers.
With alcohol consumption per capita increasing each year, Viet Nam is among the 25 countries with the highest increase in the rate of alcohol consumption.
Hoang Dinh Ban, head of the People's Police Academy's Traffic Policy Faculty, said some 40 per cent of traffic accidents involved a driver who was under the influence of alcohol, but authorities have failed to adequately address the situation, resulting in a high number of violations.
In addition, the traffic police officers have faced difficulties in dealing with violators since they tend to be aggressive, leading to confrontations.
Ban suggested that the government should consider filing criminal charges against drunk drivers if they cause accidents.
Tran Huu Minh, a traffic safety expert, proposed that the concerned agencies should lower the permissible alcohol saturation limit to 20mg per 100ml of blood. He also suggested that violators shouldn't be fined too heavily for the first incident, allowing them a chance to improve their behaviour; instead, strong punishment should be meted out when dealing with serious accidents.
Participants at the seminar emphasised the need for media campaigns that raise public awareness of traffic safety and encourage compliance with traffic rules.
They urged the Ministry of Public Security to work with the Ministry of Health in issuing regulations on examining the alcohol level in drivers' blood and the alcohol concentration in their breath.
Participants also suggested the Ministry of Finance should examine the feasibility of raising the tax on alcoholic beverages. – VNS