HA NOI — The Ministry of Transport has recommended to the Prime Minister that fines for pedestrians violating traffic laws in Ha Noi and HCM City should be raised as a measure to reduce traffic jams and accidents.
The proposal is part of the draft decree on road traffic fines, which proposes fines at about 50 per cent higher than currently regulated in Decree 146/2007/ND-CP.
For example, pedestrians who ignore traffic lights, road signs and police direction would have to pay fines of VND60,000-80,000 (US$3-4). Those not using pedestrian crossings would be fined VND80,000-120,000 ($4-6).
"Pedestrians still have a poor awareness of traffic rules. In many cases, pedestrians have caused fatal accidents," said Than Van Thanh, chief of the Secretariat of the National Committee of Road Safety's Office.
"Normally, police punish pedestrians only when they are responsible for causing accidents," said Nguyen Van Me, head of Traffic Police Team No6 under the Ha Noi Traffic Police Division. He said that his team had not punished any pedestrians last year.
Many pedestrians argued that they had to walk on roads because the pavements were occupied by parked vehicles or businesses; and they did not cross the streets at pedestrian crossings or footbridges because there were too few of them and not ideally placed.
Huyen Trang, a 20-year-old Ha Noi University student, said that she usually saw people climb over barriers to cross from Nga Tu So Market to the other side instead of using the footbridge.
"I'm sometimes startled by people suddenly running out in front of the Nga Tu So overpass. It's too dangerous," said Trang.
According to HCM City's Road Safety Committee, last year, 59 traffic accidents, accounting for 5.25 per cent of the total number of cases in the city, were caused by pedestrians, killing 42 people and injuring 17.
Under the draft, fines for motorbikes, cars, coaches violating traffic laws are also set to increase. — VNS