Ha Noi policemen fine a motorist on Pham Hung Street. The implementation of a recent decree that imposes heavier penalties on traffic violators has had some success. — VNA/VNS Photo Bui Tuong
HA NOI — A new Government decree that regulates stricter punishment for traffic violators has proven effective in reducing the number of breaches and raising public awareness of traffic laws from its first day of implementation.
Ha Noi traffic police punished more than 900 violators on Thursday when the decree took effect with total fines of nearly VND280 million (US$14,800).
This is claimed to be a 40 per cent decrease in the number of violations compared with before.
Violations such as illegal parking, particularly by taxis, running red lights, driving without helmets and driving above speed limits have dramatically reduced.
Ngo Tuan Nam from the Ha Noi Traffic Police Division who guards the Hang Khay and Dinh Tien Hoang intersection in Hoan Kiem District said that the number of traffic violators had dropped dramatically at this junction, particularly common violations such as driving without helmets and driving licences and running red lights.
Nguyen Huu Tam, the head of traffic police team No 5 who is in charge of Nguyen Van Cu Street in Long Bien District said people's awareness of traffic laws was much improved, adding that there were only a few cases of traffic violations on that day and most of the violators were unaware of the new regulations.
Around coach stations such as Nuoc Ngam in Hai Ba Trung District and My Dinh in Cau Giay District, traffic order was kept with no coaches or taxis illegally parked or unloading passengers.
Nguyen Van Tai, the head of traffic police team No 7, said violators were strictly punished but at the same time, police handed out leaflets and explained details of the new decree.
According to HCM City traffic police, nearly 2,000 traffic violators were punished on the first day the decree took effect, down nearly 60 per cent compared with before.
Under the new decree, fines for traffic violations may triple in comparison with the old decree No 146 on administrative punishment for traffic violations.
Also as from Thursday, all children being carried on motorbikes must wear helmets.
An estimated 4,000 children are killed and many thousands more serious injured each year on Viet Nam's roads each year. The vast majority of the accidents were caused by motorbikes.
Road accidents are a leading cause of death and disability in Vietnamese children. To strengthen road safety, Decree 34 also includes a rule that children aged six or more must wear helmets whenever they travel on motorbikes.
The new legislation has been introduced despite the belief of many parents that wearing a helmet can increase the risk of injuries to a child's neck.
"Parents must understand that there is no evidence to support rumours that helmet wearing is dangerous," said Dr Jean-Marc Olive,ù WHO representative in Viet Nam.
"On the contrary, wearing a high-quality, properly strapped helmet is the single most effective way of reducing head injuries and fatalities from motorcycle and bicycle crashes," he added.
Statistics from the Ministry of Health indicate that since the national helmet regulation took effect for adults in 2007, more than 6,800 children under the age of 15 had been hospitalised with traumatic brain injuries caused by road accidents.
"Much of this needless suffering could have been avoided had parents insisted their children wear a quality helmet whenever they travel on a motorcycle", said Jesper Morch, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) representative in Viet Nam.
Under the new regulation, if a child is not wearing a helmet, the driver who is carrying him or her will be fined VND100,000-200,000 ($5-10). —VNS