HCM CITY — Deputy Primer Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked HCM City to build on recent good results by increasing its traffic accident reduction target for 2012 to 30 per cent from the current 10 per cent.
Phuc, who heads the Government task force on traffic issues, suggested the change in target during a meeting with the HCM City leadership on Thursday.
Phuc expressed high appreciation for what HCM City has done to control its traffic situation and urged authorities to do more, including making adjustment to working hours and constructing more parking lots.
He told the city to provide capital to improve roads that were more accident-prone.
He also agreed to let the Chairman of HCM City People's Committee appoint firms to carry out urgent traffic constructions instead of going through the normal bidding process.
According to HCM City authorities, in the first two months of the year, the number of traffic accidents, deaths and injuries has reduced by 50 per cent over the same period last year while traffic congestion dropped 12 per cent.
Tran Quang Phuong, director of HCM City's Transport Department, said at the meeting that the death toll from traffic accidents was still high at 1.5 persons each day, compared with 2.4 in the same period last year.
To limit number of traffic accidents, police have increased patrols citywide, even covering small alleys. More than 247 traffic policemen from the municipal department were sent to work in the city's districts.
"These works have strongly impacted residents' traffic awareness and it has helped reduce accidents," said Colonel Ngo Minh Chau, deputy director of the municipal Police Department.
Another measure that has been effective in limiting accidents is to separate cars and motorbikes on roads that were more accident-prone, he said.
According to the municipal Transport Department, in 2011, road space increased by just 0.3 per cent but the number of vehicles went up by 13 per cent.
"At present, HCM City has one third of the cars and one fourth of the motorbikes in the country. In the near future, the city will face serious traffic problems. Limiting individual vehicles is an urgent task," said Nguyen Hoang Hiep, vice chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee.
Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang said collecting tolls from individual vehicles entering downtown areas would help limit the number of vehicles and increase money for upgrading infrastructure.
"The Transport Ministry is drawing up a roadmap to limit individual vehicles. It may be applied 10 years from now, but we have to announce it for people to notice and prepare," Thang said.
Limiting the number of vehicles would also help the city save huge sums of money spent on petrol, he said.
He also said strict action would be taken against illegal motor racing and punitive measures imposed — VNS