A tanker crashed into a field in northern Nam Định Province last Thursday after swerving to avoid a container truck moving in the opposite direction. A 30-seat coach behind the tanker failed to brake in time and also careened into the field. There were 10 passengers on the coach but none were injured. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình said loose management by transportation businesses, revenue pressures and extended working hours for drivers are still commonplace, contributing to the nation’s traffic safety issues.
When an accident occurred, it was necessary to investigate and consider the responsibilities of transport business owners and driver training centres, Bình said in Hà Nội on Wednesday.
He expressed his concerns about the situation of drivers using drugs and alcohol and said that detection of these offences relied on traffic police, but suggested that compulsory health check-ups by transportation firms could help.
The Deputy PM, also Chairman of National Traffic Safety Committee, was speaking at a meeting to review traffic safety in the first quarter of the year and set tasks for the second quarter.
"We have only detected a small fraction of all the drivers using drugs," he said.
Meanwhile, the role of vehicle and transport business owners in proactively detecting and preventing the use of drugs and stimulants was still very limited, he said.
Speaking at the meeting, the Deputy Prime Minister said the number of traffic accidents during the Lunar New Year holidays decreased significantly this year.
According to the National Traffic Safety Committee, the first three months of the year saw the biggest reduction in recent years in the number of accidents, deaths and injuries compared with the same period last year.
There were 4,030 traffic accidents nationwide in the period, killing 1,905 people and injuring 3,141 others.
These numbers represent a reduction of 644 accidents (13.78 per cent), 244 deaths (11.35 per cent) and 486 injuries (13.4 per cent), the committee reported.
A representative of the committee said ministries, agencies and local authorities have taken steps towards implementing health checks on drivers who work for transportation businesses.
Police forces co-ordinated with inspectors to conduct health check-ups for drivers at bus stations and ports, aiming at detecting and promptly handling drug and alcohol violations.
The northern province of Hải Dương conducted 3,596 tests on drivers, 48 of whom tested positive for drug use.
HCM City had 17 positive results from 644 tests.
Vice Chairman of the Hà Nội City People's Committee Nguyễn Thế Hùng said city authorities directed forces to focus on handling traffic violations and eliminating drug use.
A leader of the HCM City People's Committee said health check-ups for drivers working in transport businesses were being carried out. Inter-agency inspection teams have been established across the city to ensure safety regulations are being followed.
The city carried out checks on enterprises that had vehicles that caused accidents in 2018, and on enterprises that did not implement health examinations for drivers.
The HCM City People’s Committee leader also suggested that instead of stripping licences for a definite time after an accident caused by a drug-using driver, authorities should permanently revoke the driver’s licence.
Minister of Transport Nguyễn Văn Thể said the ministry would strengthen management of vehicle registration centres and crack down on unlawful or improper registrations.
“If any unit violates, they will not only have their business licences revoked but the head of the unit can also be prosecuted,” he said.
Tasks for the second quarter
The Deputy PM has asked the committee to continue urging ministries and relevant agencies to implement the Traffic Safety Year 2019 plan in the second quarter to ensure traffic order and safety, especially during the upcoming April 30 and May 1 holidays.
The committee will continue to set up inspection teams in localities that had high levels of traffic accidents in the first quarter.
The Ministry of Transport will direct units to crack down on the transportation of banned goods, flammable and explosive materials in passenger vehicles and will urge prompt completion of vehicle load checking stations on roadways, according to the Deputy PM.
The Ministry of Health will continue directing health departments to co-ordinate with the police and traffic inspectors to conduct drug and stimulant tests for drivers and organise health examinations for drivers.
HCM City and Hà Nội will improve the quality of public transport services to encourage people to use alternatives to personal vehicles. — VNS