HA NOI — Traffic accidents durie' the first five days of Tet killed about 300 people and injured more than 400, many seriously, an increase of 100 cases over the same occasion last year, according to a preliminary report released yesterday.
The report does not include the 14,000 unreported accident victims with minor injuries admitted to hospitals around the country in the first three days of Tet alone. It is estimated that figure could double by the end of the holiday period.
The shocking figures have brought a warning from traffic authorities that the roads would to be clogged today as people return to work and study.
The authorities urged those in charge of all vehicles to drive defensively and avoid driving under the influence of alcohol.
The preliminary report showed that six of the accidents causing death and serious injury occurred at railway crossings.
The period of the report included the heavy traffic flow on New Year's Eve but not the final day of the holiday yesterday, and today.
Among those involved in the official accident report, 650 were not wearing a helmet, 19.5 per cent higher than the same period last year.
While the three major cities showed a decrease in traffic accident cases, thecentral provinces of Quang Ngai, Thua Thien-Hue, and northern Phu Tho Province had the highest incidence during the period.
Alcohol was reported as a major cause of the accidents.
In Ha Noi, 13 people died and three were injured in traffic accidents in the five days, a reduction of 1.4 per cent in deaths and 2 per cent in injures compared with the same period last year.
Ha Noi police reported they had fined nearly 1,000 traffic violators a total of VND145 million (US$7,600).
In Da Nang, statistics showed that two people were killed and three were injured in five accidents, which was down 60 and 50 per cent respectively on the numbers of last year.
However, the Da Nang Emergency Centre reported local hospitals received 70 victims of traffic accidents, most unreported and most caused by drink-driving or driving in wrong lanes.
Da Nang authorities said stronger patrols and good co-operation between traffic and local police and other forces had led to a significant reduction in traffic and security problems.
Meanwhile, HCM City had 59 road accidents in the first three days of Tet, showing a 14.2 per cent reduction in traffic accident victims over the same period last year. No other figures were available for HCM City last night. — VNS