unwise to let foreigners drive right-hand cars in VN?
News asked its
readers about the Ministry of Transport’s proposal to allow foreigners to
drive cars with steering wheels on the right-hand side in Viet Nam.
Last week we asked readers
for their opinions about the Ministry of Transport’s proposal that would allow
foreigners to drive cars with steering wheels on the right while they visit and
stay in Viet Nam.
Kwantientong, Thailand, Bangkok
I like travelling to other
countries in my own car. Many countries allow cars with the steering wheel on
the right to use their roads. When I go to these countries, I practise for a
short time in order to get used to their traffic signals and laws.
I have never had any
trouble driving in foreign countries.
procedures for taking my car to other countries are not complicated. All I need
is to do is show a valid copy of my driving licence and car registration.
It would be really
wonderful if Viet Nam allows foreign tourists to bring their own cars here. I
like to visit out of the way places by myself in an independent and active way.
Surely, this will boost
the country’s tourism industry as there are nearly 60 countries which drive on
the left. The number of people who wish to bring their own cars to discover your
beautiful land must be great.
However, most of the roads
in Viet Nam are narrow and the two lanes are often not marked. The Ministry of
Transport should make it clear who has right of way on these narrow roads to
minimise traffic congestion and the number of accidents.
Duc Thang, Vietnamese, Ha Noi
Tourism is necessary for
the development of our nation’s economy. However, the Ministry of Transport’s
proposal is not the best way to do this in terms of money.
Have you ever endured a long queue to get your paperwork done in
Viet Nam or been confounded by administrative requirements?
Viet Nam launched an ambitious project called "30", to
simplify administrative procedures between State offices, business and
the public since 2007. The goal was a reduction in red tape and time
spent waiting in line at administrative offices, including customs and
Recently, the Government ordered ministries and sectors to work harder
to reduce their procedures by a minimum of 30 per cent by the time the
project wraps up next year. A national database of administrative
procedures is expected to be posted online for public access by the end
of next month (in Vietnamese only).
Administrative reform efforts are part of the World Trade Organisation
membership requirements for the country.
Have you noted any differences since the implementation of the project?
Can you share with us your experience in dealing with paperwork in Viet
Nam and compare with that in your own country? What further changes do
you think should be carried out to make the policy workable?
your opinions via e-mail to: email@example.com
– or by fax to 84 (0) 43 933 2311. Letters can be sent to The Editor,
Viet Nam News, 11 Tran Hung Dao Street, Ha Noi.
this week’s question must be received by Thursday morning, September 3.
First, not all foreigners
can afford to bring their own cars overseas. Those that do will have to go
through a number of complicated procedures to bring their cars to Viet Nam.
Therefore, it will be time-consuming, and hardly worth it for just a short
visit. They would also have to meet the extra cost of doing so.
Second, driving in Viet
Nam will be a headache for most foreigners, who will have to acquaint themselves
with new traffic regulations. There is also the problem of traffic jams and
Third, Viet Nam has a high
population. The roads are often narrow – even in Ha Noi and HCM City. The
shortage of parking areas is also a problem that has not been resolved. I doubt
whether this proposal will boost visitor numbers.
In my opinion, we should
focus on improving traffic flow, the environment and the quality of tourism
services provided. We should upgrade our roads, and provide better and cheaper
buses and taxis (and punish taxi drivers who clock their meters). Tourists will
be far more satisfied if the environment is clean and their welcome is
hospitable. That is the best way to boost tourist numbers.
Hieu, Vietnamese, Ha Noi
The Ministry of Transport’s
proposal won’t work for a number of reasons.
First of all, our traffic
system is not friendly. Traffic laws are not observed. There are too many
motorbikes on the streets. Traffic congestion is a major problem in cities such
as Ha Noi and HCM City.
There is a high chance
that tourists with right-hand drive cars will get into a traffic accident. If
that were to happen, it could be difficult to resolve legally. And of course,
the rule that the "big vehicle pays the smaller one" would not make
sense to foreigners.
Worse than that, the
proposal may actually detrimentally affect the development of the tourism
industry. After going through all the paper work to bring their cars to Viet
Nam, what will the tourists’ reaction be, if they don’t have a good driving
experience? They would probably opt for an alternative destination next time –
and make sure their friends do likewise.
What the Ministry of
Transport should do to boost tourism is improve the traffic system.
There are three things
that the ministry should focus on. First and perhaps most important, the
ministry needs to educate motorists about the traffic law: stop at a red light,
drive in the correct lane, etc.
Second, the ministry
should improve public transport to ease traffic congestion. At the same time, it
should launch a marketing campaign to encourage people to use public transport.
Last, there should be
better enforcement of the traffic laws.
Trung, Vietnamese, Paris
In European countries,
visiting motorists must obey local laws. For example, in Portugal, cars must
carry fire extinguishers.
Cars also have to adjust
their headlights so that they don’t blind oncoming vehicles.
However, there are better
and easier ways to boost tourist numbers that the Ministry of Transport can do,
such as re-routing traffic to minimise congestion and upgrading roads. Vehicles
should also be regularly checked to ensure they are roadworthy.
Phuong Thuy, Vietnamese, Da Nang
It is understandable that
the Ministry of Transport wants right-hand drive cars to be allowed to travel in
Viet Nam because many other countries do so.
It would make it easier
for tourists to visit the country. However, the ministry should think carefully
about the proposal.
It should ensure that the
needs of right-hand drive cars are met, and foreign tourists should be advised
on safety. The ministry also needs to tackle the legal issue of accidents
involving foreign-registered cars.
Besides, the ministry
needs to improve infrastructure to make it easier to get around by car.
Bassett, British, London
In the UK we drive on the
left-hand side of the road. Driving on mainland Europe (where they drive on the
other side) is really no big deal.
Providing road signs and
markings are standardised, the risk of collisions is minimal. Yes, it does make
life a little bit more difficult when overtaking but not unduly so. It is more
important to ensure that road users obey traffic laws, which should be strictly
enforced. I assume this measure is aimed at drivers from Thailand where driving
does seem to be a relatively relaxed and leisurely affair compared to that in
I find driving in Viet Nam
not too troublesome.
Looking further afield, to
boost tourism, Viet Nam should make it easier to get a visa. It really is a pain
having to apply for one before I travel. Instead of just coming to Viet Nam I
have to plan my trips, even down to the day of arrival. If I go to Thailand,
Singapore, etc., I can just hop on an aircraft and go. I then get my visa on
arrival and more importantly, it’s free. — VNS