|A police officer directs traffic on a street in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo Doãn Tuấn|
HÀ NỘI — The number of traffic accidents, traffic-related deaths and injuries in Việt Nam dropped in the first half of the year compared to the same period last year.
According to the latest report by the National Traffic Safety Committee, from December 16, 2017 to June 15, 2018, about 9,000 traffic accidents were reported nationwide, killing 4,100 people and injuring about 7,000 people.
The number of traffic accidents was 6.19 per cent lower than that of last year’s first half while the number of deaths and injuries dropping by 0.75 per cent and 11.44 per cent, respectively.
Of the traffic accidents, nearly 8,900 happened on roads, 62 occurred on railways and about 40 were reported on waterways.
Chairman of the committee Khuất Việt Hùng said that 35 out of 93 cities and provinces had fewer traffic accidents than during last year’s first half. Nine localities had death tolls reduced by over 20 per cent including Vĩnh Phúc, Lào Cai, Tuyên Quang, Hải Phòng in the north, Thanh Hóa in the central, Bạc Liêu, An Giang in the south, and Đắk Lắk in Central Highlands region.
However, 26 provinces and cities saw traffic accidents increase. Ten provinces suffered an increase of 20 per cent including Quảng Nam, Kiên Giang, Điện Biên, Hậu Giang, Cao Bằng, Bắc Kạn. Four provinces - Cà Mau, Hải Dương, Bắc Giang, Tây Ninh – had accidents double.
Major causes for road traffic accidents included driving in the wrong lane (26 per cent), speeding (8.77 per cent), bad driving (7.82 per cent) and drink driving (4.23 per cent).
Regarding railway accidents, Hùng said that localities blamed funding shortages for poor management and operation of warning systems at level-crossings.
“Insufficient public understanding when using level-crossings was also a major cause for railway accidents,” Hùng said.
The National Traffic Safety Committee also reported that police stopped over two million traffic violations in the last six months, collecting fines of over VNĐ1.26 trillion (US$54.72 million).
Until May 15, about 3.63 million cars and 56.2 million motorbikes have registered with authorised agencies.
Local government leaders’ role
Deputy Prime Minister Trương Hòa Bình on Thursday asked for reports on how local government leaders will take responsibility if they fail to curb traffic accidents in their areas.
Bình, who is also chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee, said during an online conference to review the traffic situation during the first half of this year that traffic problems have persisted over the last few months.
He spoke specifically about serious railway accidents, especially train SE19 on the North-South route, which was involved in two accidents in one month.
Bình also raised concerns on other problems, including traffic congestion in major cities and fake taxis or coaches picking up or dropping passengers off at incorrect locations.
“Many traffic problems have not been addressed, but the Prime Minister has not received any reports on the responsibilities of leaders in involved localities,” Huệ said.
For example, he asked how localities are dealing with illegal level-crossings which have been set up so people can cross railways more conveniently.
After serious railway accidents, only the Ministry of Transport reported punishments handed down to people and organisations involved, he added.
At the meeting, Bình also urged ministries and agencies to speed up and complete legal documents which were expected to help tackle existing traffic problems.
For example, the transport ministry was asked to complete the draft of the Governmental decision on conditions for transport businesses. The Ministry of Justice was asked to review laws and make recommendations to the Government if it was necessary to increase fines for traffic violations. — VNS