A woman sells her wares at a railway intersection in Ha Noi's Hoang Mai District. There have been 81 deaths on the country's railways since the beginning of the year. — VNS/VNA Photo Bui Tuong
HA NOI — Railway accidents, particularly at level crossings, have risen alarmingly this year, according to Pham Van Binh, head of the Viet Nam Railway Corporation's Traffic Safety Committee.
In the first four months of this year, there were 184 accidents involving trains that resulted in 81 deaths and 112 injuries, Binh said.
Part of the reason is the failure by local officials to stop people and vehicles crossing railway tracks at the wrong place, he said.
The committee said there were 4,572 illegal level crossings on the country's rail network.
He said Thanh Khe District People Committee in central Da Nang City had even unlawfully issued land-use certificates for local people to build their houses too close to railway tracks.
However, Nguyen Thuong, chairman of Thanh Khe District People's Committee, said the Government had belatedly issued rules prohibiting the building of houses in railway safety zones in 2006.
"We granted the building licences before that time," he said.
To enhance railway safety, people's committees should offer safety advice to members of the public who live close to railway tracks, Binh said.
He added that if local authorities could not immediately shut all illegal crossing points, they should instead put up warning signs and ban motor vehicles from using theme. — VNS