Khuat Viet Hung, vice chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee, speaks to the newspaper Lao dong (Labour) about his plan to reduce the number of transport accidents, deaths and injuries.
What is your assessment about traffic safety and order in Viet Nam in 2015?
In 2015, Viet Nam achieved certain successes in traffic safety. However, there remains some weaknesses that we have to try hard to overcome in 2016, particularly in campaigns to raise people's awareness about transport safety and making transport infrastructure to mesh with socio-economic development.
In the five years, from 2011 to 2015, particularly in 2015, the number of traffic accidents reduced remarkably in three measures – accidents, injuries and fatalities.
In the five years under review, the number of transport accidents dropped by 32,307 cases, injuries by 44,586 cases and deaths by 12,546 cases.
In 2015, there were 22,404 accidents (down 11.5 per cent), 8,671 deaths (down 11.5 per cent) and 3,861 injuries (down 15.8 per cent) compared with 2014.
Safety in transportation and load control were the two key topics observed in 2014 and 2015. Will you please further elaborate on lessons learned in the last two years?
In late 2013, there were about 250,000 transportation businesses nationwide against over 40 million motorcycles and some 1.5 private cars.
Most of the reported accidents were related to coaches, trucks and container vehicles, particularly overloaded trucks and container vehicles.
However, by 2015, with the government's resolve to cut down on traffic accidents, particularly overloaded trucks and container vehicles, the number of serious accidents were cut down, particularly overloaded trucks were reduced by more than 85 per cent.
In my opinion, successes attained in lowering traffic accidents in the last two years were attributed to the deep involvement of government agencies and the people's awareness about traffic safety.
Compared with other ASEAN countries, where does Viet Nam's rank in traffic safety?
Through in the past several years, Viet Nam has achieved many successes in traffic safety. On an average, about 24 people are killed in accidents a day.
According to statistics released by the World Health Organisation in 2013, accident fatality rates per 100,000 among some ASEAN member countries are follows; Viet Nam: 10.74; Indonesia: 10.54; Thailand 20.37; Cambodia: 12.88; Singapore: 2.94 and Myanmar: 6.78.
What lessons has Viet Nam learned in its traffic safety campaigns in the past few years?
There are three important lessons that we have learned in our transport safety campaigns.
Firstly, the making it compulsory that all motor riders have to wear safety helmets.
The rate of wearing safety helmets in Thailand is about 40 per cent while in Viet Nam it is over 85 per cent for adults and 60 per cent for children aged from six upward.
Secondly, all transportation businesses operating in Viet Nam have to install surveillance cameras.
And finally, driving licenses can be renewed or issued online.
In addition to the three key above mentioned lessons, I should mention the close co-operation between central and local government agencies, a very important factor for the effective operation of the Viet Nam National Safety Transport Committee which is headed by a Deputy Prime Minister.
For 2016 and the five year plan 2016-2020, Viet Nam sets a target to reduce the traffic accident rate to 5 per cent to 10 per cent in the accident, fatalities and injuries numbers. By the end of 2020, Viet Nam will try to reduce the fatality rate to 5,000 cases and there will be no cases of traffic congestion for more than 30 minutes.
To achieve these targets by 2020, what measures will Viet Nam adopt?
The Viet Nam National Safety Traffic Committee has laid down six measures as follows;
First, to continue to implement the Directive No 18 of the Party Central Committee Secretary on the work of traffic safety and the Government's Decree No 88 on measures to ensure traffic safety and overcome problems of traffic jams.
Second, to raise the capacity and efficiency of the State management toward transport safety.
Third, to install more traffic signs on roads, railways and waterways
Fourth, to continue the restructuring of the transport sector, particularly the Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City light trains in order to reduce the use of private transport means.
Fifth, to step up inspection activities and the handling of violation cases.
And finally, to improve the mass communication campaign on the issue, particularly in remote regions. — VNS