HA NOI — Despite a decline in road deaths in 2010, an average of 32 people died every day in Viet Nam through traffic accidents, the National Traffic Safety Committee's office chief Than Van Thanh said at a conference in Ha Noi yesterday.
Students of Ha Noi's Trung Vuong Primary School join a campaign urging students and parents to obey traffic laws.—VNA/VNS Photo Nhat Anh
A total of 11,500 people were recorded to have died in traffic accidents this year, equivalent to 100 Boeing 737 plane crashes.
Despite the high toll, Transport Minister Ho Nghia Dung said it was not far off the global average of 12,000 people killed in road traffic accidents per year per country.
The toll was even lower than the world's average if the size of population and number of vehicles was taken into account, said Dung.
The year has seen 47 fewer deaths in traffic accidents compared to last year. Deputy Minister of Public Security Le The Tiem said the decline was small, but indicated great efforts spent by the country as the number of vehicles was rapidly increasing.
"The number of cars has increased by 12.1 per cent and motorbikes by 10.3 per cent this year against 2009 while roads and traffic infrastructure remained limited," said Tiem.
A target of a three per cent decrease in road traffic deaths in 2011 was set, said Transport Minister Dung.
Viet Nam has witnessed 14,442 traffic accidents so far this year. A total of 11,449 people have been killed and another 10,633 injured. They include:
- Road traffic: 13,713 accidents (16 per cent up on 2009) left 11,060 dead (down 0.3 per cent). A total of 126 serious accidents were recorded and they killed 389 people.
- Rail traffic: 482 accidents (down 17 per cent) killed 230 people (up 7 per cent).
- Waterway traffic: 196 accidents (down 1.5 per cent killed 146 people (down 19 per cent)
A total of 210 traffic jams lasted more than an hour each. Most of them were in Ha Noi, HCM City and the northern city of Quang Ninh. — VNS
Despite the lower death toll and a decrease in serious accidents, the number of traffic accidents in 2010 increased by 14 per cent and the number of injured people was also 31 per cent up against last year.
Director of Transport Ministry's Traffic Safety Department Nguyen Van Thuan said reducing traffic accidents was not an easy job considering the fact that few roads in Viet Nam had multiple lanes and hard shoulders to separate different types of vehicles and prevent head-on collisions.
Public Security Deputy Minister Tiem said it was not something that could be solved overnight but was a long-term fight.
"If major problems are not sorted out, it's hard to improve the situation in the future," he said.
Free movement to urban areas, increasing number of vehicles, bad quality of roads, speeding and lack of basic road awareness was at fault, he said.
Transport Minister Dung also called on the Ministry of Education and Training to pay more attention to the teaching of traffic laws and safety at school as millions of young people qualify for driving licenses every year.—VNS