Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Traffic accidents rose sharply during the week-long Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday, killing 203 people and injuring 417 others in 368 incidents.
Road accidents accounted for 97.8 per cent (360) of the total incidents, 97 per cent (197) of the deaths and 97.36 per cent (406) of injuries during the holiday from January 26 to February 1.
There were eight railway accidents, killing six and injuring 11 people.
Traffic accidents peaked on January 30 (the third day of the Lunar New Year), with 60 incidents in which 38 people were killed and 69 others wounded.
Only six provinces were free of traffic accidents during the holiday, namely Bắc Ninh, Cao Bằng, Kon Tum, Ninh Bình, Sơn La and Lào Cai.
Traffic accidents respectively rose 29.5 per cent, 11.5 per cent and 48 per cent in the numbers of incidents, deaths and injuries during Tết, according to the Traffic Police Department.
Sen. Lt. Col. Nguyễn Quang Nhật, head of the department’s communication division, blamed the surge on people driving over the speed limit, not wearing helmets while riding motorbikes and drunk-driving.
He admitted that forces’ lax examination and punishment of traffic violations, especially in rural areas, was another cause of the rise in accidents.
A total of 35,800 cases were reported at emergency departments across the country due to traffic accidents. Among these, 19,500 cases were discharged within the day, more than 11,000 cases led to hospitalisation and some 2,300 cases had to be transferred to higher level hospitals for treatment.
In HCM City, the Tết holiday saw no traffic fatalities this year, although the number of injuries increased from last year, according to city traffic police.
Lieutenant Colonel Huỳnh Trung Phong, head of the Road and Railway Traffic Police Division, attributed the result to efforts by the division.
He said the division had carried out a number of measures to ensure traffic safety and order before, during and after the holiday.
Before Tết, from January 17-25, the busiest period for traffic, the division mobilised traffic police to major traffic accident hotpots such as Tân Sơn Nhất airport area, Cát Lái Port, bus stations, Sài Gòn railway station, national roads, and the city centre.
The police also disguised themselves as civilians to catch drivers racing motorbikes. A group of people who had gathered to race were stopped during the holiday.
Phong said the measures to ensure traffic safety before and during Tết only accounted for 50 per cent of the city police’s plan.
The most important period is after Tết (after January 31), when most people return to the city after the long holiday.
Beginning on Wednesday, the division mobilised all traffic police at major traffic hotpots to ensure safety and order.
In addition, the police have also organised campaigns to raise people’s awareness about traffic safety and run TV programmes about stricter punishment for drunk driving.
As of 6pm on Wednesday, at many gateways to HCM City, the traffic volume had increased because of people returning home after the holiday.
But there were no serious traffic jams, according to Lê Hoàng Minh, deputy director of the Department of Transport.
Minh said the reason was that the holiday officially ended on February 2, which falls on Wednesday, so many employees used their annual leave to have a full week off and will return to the city on Sunday or next week.
In addition, most university students are off until next week, Minh added.
Besides traffic accidents, incidents of fighting inflicted heavy damage during Tết.
About 4,500 people across the country were hospitalised following physical confrontations during the seven days of the Lunar New Year holiday, the Ministry of Health said.
The number of victims who died in escalating conflicts and scuffles during that period alone was recorded at 34.
More than 550 cases involved alcohol consumption. — VNS