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Drivers lack road safety awareness

Update: January, 12/2016 - 08:10
Traffic congestion during rush hour in HCM City. Nearly 13,000 traffic accidents have occurred in the city over the past three years, killing 2,141 people and injuring 11,686, of which 80 per cent were caused by lack of driver awareness about traffic laws. — VNA/VNS Photo Manh Linh

HCM CITY (VNS) — In the last three years, nearly 13,000 traffic accidents have occurred in HCM City, killing 2,141 people and injuring 11,686, of which 80 per cent were caused by lack of driver awareness about traffic laws.

"Traffic awareness of local people is too low," Nguyen Ngoc Tuong, deputy head of the municipal Traffic Safety Committee, was quoted as saying in the Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper at a three-year review meeting organised by the city's Party Committee late last week.

In the 2012-15 period, 2.4 million tickets were handed out for traffic violations, including 184,300 for people who violated the speed limit, 117,000 for driving on a one-way street or running a red light, 79,000 for driving while drinking, 200,000 for driving without helmets and 28,300 for driving with overloaded weight on motorbikes or vehicles.

Twenty per cent of accidents were caused by technical faults and poor infrastructure.

"The city has nearly 7.5 million personal vehicles, 1.5 times higher than three years ago and every day, there are around 10 million vehicles, including those from outside the city, circulating in HCM City," Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the municipal transport department, said.

Each year, the city has seen an average growth rate of 7 per cent for personal vehicles, but local authorities haven't released policies to restrict the growth.

The seaport system within the city also contributes to traffic congestion.

"We have arranged hundreds of policemen to manage traffic around seaports but we can't control the situation because it is too crowded," Colonel Tran Thanh Tra was quoted as saying in Tuoi Tre (Youth).

Furthermore, the movement of industrial parks, factories, bus stations, hospitals, universities and ports out of downtown have been delayed year after year, and roads have taken too long for construction.

"To solve these problems for infrastructure, during the 2015-20 period, the city needs VND255 trillion (US$11 billion) for investment, but in fact, the State budget can provide only VND11 trillion ($500 million)," Cuong said.

He said there were three challenges for traffic construction, including site clearance and compensation, capital and project management.

Cuong cited the example of the Rach Chiec Bridge. Thanks to quick ground clearance, investors could save VND200 billion ($8.9 million).

Meanwhile, police have complained about a lack of equipment, and outdated equipment.

"Ten years ago, HCM City police had enough modern equipment but now, neighbouring provinces have much better equipment," Tran Duc Tai, deputy director of the municipal Police Department, said.

He said the city should build a traffic control centre, which has been mentioned for a long time but has not been completed.

"The centre would help manage traffic for the entire city as well as ensure order and security," he said.

However, there are only 300 connected-cameras for the entire city.

One of the most important works in the upcoming time is how to clear vendors and small traders on the pavement.

"The city has around 15 million sq. m of pavement; if local authorities can set up order, it would help the traffic situation a lot," Cuong added.

The lack of bus transport use among residents is another factor contributing to traffic congestion.

"Only 10 per cent of local residents choose the bus because the bus system is not convenient," he added. — VNS

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