|Traffic police in Gia Lai Province breathalyse a road user. VNA/VNS Photo Quang Thai|
HÀ NỘI Having spent three weeks at home, getting back to Việt Nam was a little bit of a shock to the system – especially as I was riding my motorbike to work just three hours after landing in Ha Noi.
Instead of the quiet, green lanes of England and Ireland, I found myself trying to slip back into the organised chaos of the roads that Việt Nam is renowned for.
Now, don’t get me wrong – I love riding a motorbike in Việt Nam. I’ve been lucky enough to ride a motorcycle all over the world, and Việt Nam tops them all.
However, even the most erstwhile adventure motorcyclist would admit that road safety in Việt Nam has room to improve.
Solutions to this problem come in many shapes and sizes; some complex, others relatively simple. Some are already in place but need to be enforced consistently across the board.
Prevention is the best cure, and education is the lynchpin to changing habits on the road.
Utilising short, social-media-driven videos on the effects of speeding or the consequences of drink driving would reach a wide audience quickly, sparking debate and hopefully a change in some people’s behaviours.
Technology can also be employed in road infrastructure too, with smart traffic lights, speed cameras and artificial intelligence technology helping manage flows and reduce traffic.
Of course, not every solution must be high-tech though.
Simple measures such as ensuring that every street has a speed limit sign would go a long way toward ensuring that nobody can legitimately use the excuse "I didn’t know what the speed limit was, Officer."
One of the main issues is that while these acts are already illegal, as we all know (and probably have been guilty of ourselves on occasion), it is all too easy to get away with on the roads at the moment.
That is where consistent enforcement must also play its part. To effectively prevent road users from breaking the law there must be real consequences, including the threat of seizure of vehicles, removal of licenses and large fines.
Vital to improving road safety is giving the authorities the tools they need to educate and, where necessary, consistently enforce measures that improve safety.
Nobody wants to be the person suggesting more rules and regulations, and I certainly don’t want to ruin the essence of what I love about riding a motorbike in Việt Nam – the organised chaos.
However, a lot more can be done to ensure that everyone who sets out on a journey reaches their destination safely. VNS