|A traffic accident in the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway. Despite recent positive shifts in national traffic safety, the death toll from accidents this year still stood at about 9,000 people. —Photo tienphong.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Despite recent positive shifts in national traffic safety, the death toll from accidents this year still stood at about 9,000 people, and was "too high for the country to afford", said Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc yesterday.
The number was part of a much bigger traffic death toll totaled in the last five years of 48,015 people who were killed in 158,125 accident cases reported from November 2010 to October 2015.
Those figures were released by the Ministries of Security and Transport in a meeting to review the traffic work in the last five years held in Ha Noi yesterday, which briefed on key progress gained through national efforts since 2011, for example a decrease in the numbers of accidents, deaths and injuries.
Phuc, also the Chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee, said that those improvements were far from enough, and asked localities to strive more to pull down the number of people killed in traffic accidents by at least 45 per cent, to 5,000 deaths as targeted in the traffic plan for the next five years.
Apart from the high traffic-related death tolls on-going for years, which placed Viet Nam at 45th out of 172 countries in terms of death rate in road accidents by the World Health Organisation (WHO) last year, warnings over expected worse traffic in the near future were also voiced in the meeting.
Traffic Police Department Director, Major General Tran Son Ha, said that the pressure on traffic, especially in big cities, was growing huge due to a fast rise in the traffic flow while the infrastructure had yet to meet the demand.
HCM City, the biggest and leading city in Viet Nam where about eight million people are registered as living, was reported to have up to 11 or 12 million people going in and out of it every day, according to Ha. The number of vehicles and other transport services that will come along with such people flow, understandably, was expected to be very high.
Ha Noi suffered the same situation as the gap between the registered and the real people on the road, over 10 million, stretched by approximately three million.
"Overall, there are now about four million cars and more than 40 million motorbikes in Viet Nam, not to mention the increasing number of electric bikes which are still out of the hands of the authorities," said Ha.
He said that traffic jams were expected to be a key issue in 2016 following Viet Nam's joining in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which will open the path for tariff-cut cars to flood in big cities. Many traffic constructions in HCM City and Ha Noi, meanwhile, have been delayed for quite a while, which triggered a need to review the contractors capabilities.
"This traffic puzzle so far is very hard to solve," Ha said. — VNS