|A railway accident that occured in coastal central Binh Thuan Province's Ham Kiem Commune. An official says 94 per cent of railway accidents are due to traffic violations by road users. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyen Thanh
HA NOI (VNS) — Ninety four per cent of railway accidents are due to traffic violations by road users, according to deputy general director of the Viet Nam Railway Corporation, Doan Duy Hoach.
Last year railway-related accidents increased, officials said.
In 2004, the number of accidents was 388 cases killing 161 people while in 2005 the number rose to 587 cases causing 213 deaths, Hoach said.
"Most of the accidents were because of violations of road and railway safety regulations," he told the Nong Thon Ngay Nay (Countryside Today) Newspaper.
"Among the 487 accidents that occurred last year, 40 per cent of the accidents happened due to illegal crossings," he said.
According to the corporation's statistics, currently there are 1,498 legal crossings and 4,305 illegal crossing on the rail routes nationwide.
At present, there have been several railway routes crossing residential areas or near houses. That was due to fast urbanisation.
This was the main reason for violating and encroaching on the railway safety corridors. In many residential areas, local people have illegally opened level crossings.
About 90 per cent of present legal level crossings violated safety regulations and standards by the Ministry of Transport.
Explaining the situation, Hoach said that the regulations on safe railway transport were not consistent.
Decree No.109/2006 regulates the safety railway corridor is 7m while the Law on Railway regulates the corridor is 15m. This contradiction confused railway authorities.
"To reduce accidents happening at crossings, there need to be protective barriers and roads for residents who are living near the areas that trains are crossing," said senior lieutenant-colonel Nguyen Hong Do, from Ha Noi Traffic Police Department.
In fact, the corporation had set a plan to erect more than 300 barriers at railway crossings but last year only dozens of barriers were placed.
Meanwhile, deputy chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee, Khuat Viet Hung, said the answer for reducing railway accidents at crossings was obvious.
This was a need to build standard safety corridors, Hung said.
On the major level crossings, they needed signal boards and railway barrier guards.
"The measures were set up and investment was estimated. But the question is how and when to realise it while the State Budget is empty", said Hung. — VNS