Khuất Việt Hùng. — Photo tienphong.vn
Khuất Việt Hùng, Vice President of the National Committee for Traffic Safety, talks to Hà Nội Mới (New Hà Nội) newspaper on measures to ensure traffic safety for people living along national highways.
In the last few days some serious traffic accidents have happened on national highways. What were the main causes?
Many people were scared to hear the news about some fatal accidents that occurred in some national highways nationwide.
For example on July 23, three serious accidents were reported on National Highway 5 – in the portion running through the Kim Thành District, Hải Dương Province. Seven people were killed in these accidents and two others were injured. Of which, the accident caused by a truck carrying water killed five pedestrians who were crossing the road. The accident raised alarm among the general public, as it was the most serious road accident that had occurred on the highway in many years. Also on the same day, two people were killed and many others were injured in an accident between a coach and a truck on the National Highway 2 in Hàm Yên District, Tuyên Quang Province.
Analysis of the three accidents in Hải Dương showed all the drivers had strictly observed the speed limit and hadn’t drunk any alcohol. The inspection licences of all the vehicles were all valid. It was the same case for the vehicle in the northern province of Tuyên Quang. However, some people have claimed the driver had over-run the lane. Yet, this has not yet been verified by investigation authorities. What happened in those fatal accidents has raised an alarm on the side of drivers due to their poor road observation, particularly the accident that killed five people in Hải Dương.
Many people have pointed to the fact that many residential areas are beside national highways as leading to accidents. Do you agree?
I can’t agree more! Yet, drivers should also be blamed for these accidents. As we all know that when the National Highway No5 was expanded to four lanes for motor vehicles and two lanes for rudimentary vehicles, many residential areas formed along the road. Plus, many factories and enterprises and industrial parks were established along the highway. Principally speaking, if we have good planning in the construction of a residential area, authorities have to oversee the construction of internal roads, adjacent pathways and others to ensure it is safe for all road users, including pedestrians and motor vehicle drivers and others. I’m sorry to say this is a common problem everywhere in Việt Nam.
It would be a crime if I didn’t mention the responsibility of the authorities at all levels, ranging from the grassroots to a much higher level.
Is there any chance we can solve this problem for the time being or in the future?
For National Highway 5, the Ministry of Transport and the Việt Nam Infrastructure Development and Finance Investment Joint Stock Company have adopted a plan to upgrade it to international standards with all traffic signs. On July 23, Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình ordered the erection of warning signs in all residential areas and speed warning signs in populated areas.
The Deputy PM ordered the Ministry of Transport (MOT) to review all the national highways to make sure proper traffic signs are erected to help drivers easily follow instructions to ensure traffic safety. Last but not least, he also ordered the MOT to launch a mass communication campaign to raise people’s awareness on transport safety – for both drivers and pedestrians. — VNS