|Potholes occur on the National Highway No1 passing through central Phú Yên Province on November 19. A series of traffic accidents have reported due to potholes. - VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Triệu
PHÚ YÊN – A series of recent traffic accidents in central Viet Nam have been blamed on potholes and road mismanagement recently, raising public concerns over traffic safety and the responsibility of agencies.
On Monday, Trần Nguyễn Quang Tánh was driving his motorbike on the National Highway No1 in central Phú Yên Province’s Hoà Xuân Đông Commune when he hit a 30-cm deep pothole. He died at the scene.
On November 18, a truck hit a pothole on the same road and crashed into lane divider. Luckily, the driver escaped harm, but the cost of the damaged truck and cargo was nearly a billion đồng.
On the same day, another truck hit three potholes on the road on the night and rolled over, causing the damage of VNĐ100 million (US$4,300).
Trần Danh, father of Tánh, told Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper that if the potholes had been filled or there had been a warning sign, his son would not have died.
He said no representatives from Government agencies had come to ask him about the incident.
Another accident occurred in central Đà Nẵng City on Monday Trương Vũ Huy, was driving his wife, Trần Huệ Trâm, on his motorbike when he became entangled with an electric line and got electric shock. Huy died immediately.
At the scene, the police found a 20-metre-long electric line connected to the power station. The line was set across Yên Thế Road, creating a trap for those who were on the road.
Nguyễn Thành Trí, director of Phú Yên Province’s Transport Department said after being informed about the potholes, the department had checked the situation on National Highway No1 road through Phú Yên Province. It had asked Việt Nam Directorate of Roads and Thăng Long Project Management Board to direct relevant units to repair damage.
Trí said many potholes have reappeared shortly after being repaired as the road was submerged during heavy rainfall.
He said the potholes that led to accidents were the responsibility of Thăng Long Project Management Board.
In the meanwhile, Nguyễn Hoàng Khánh, specialist of Thăng Long Project Management Board said the road was under management of the Civil Engineering Construction Corporation No4’s 475 JSC.
He said the management board had sent more than 15 documents asking the contractor of the road to repair the potholes since July. However, the contractor was slow to do the job, forcing the management board to appoint Phú Yên Road Repair Company to fix the potholes.
The contractor was responsible for repair work within 21 days of any damages being found. If the contractor failed to do it, the management board would hire another unit to complete the task with the payment taken from the road maintenance fund.
Khánh admitted warning signs were only installed in areas under maintenance instead of all potholes along the road.
Colonel Nguyễn Quang Phổ, head of Đông Hoà District’s Police Sub-department said the police had begun investigating the accident.
In terms of the fatal accident caused by the electricity line, Chairman of Đà Nẵng City’s People’s Committee Huỳnh Đức Thơ has asked the management boards of infrastructure projects to explain the cause of the incident to the committee.
Đặng Quốc Thắng, head of Lighting Management Team No3 under the city’s Public Lighting Operation and Management Company said a construction company had asked the firm to connect its power source for its lighting, but did not remove the line after completing its work.
According to lawyers, it is possible to take legal proceedings over road management units or contractors for failing to ensure public safety.
Nguyễn Đức Chánh, lawyer from HCM City’s Lawyers Association said if the cause of deaths was due to potholes, the responsibility of the road management and maintenance units must be clarified.
If the potholes were caused by the weaknesses or irresponsibility of these units, they would be responsible for failing to conform to regulations on maintenance and management, leading to technical safety failure, or failing to devise solutions for damaged traffic works, resulting in fatalities.
If traffic users suffered from 61 per cent of body’s injuries or between VNĐ 100-500 million ($4,300-21,500) of property damage, these units would take legal proceedings with penalties ranging between six months to three years in jail.
Nguyễn Thị Minh Trang, another member of the HCM City’s Lawyers Association said relatives of the victims could ask such units to pay compensation according to Article 591 of the Civil Code 2015. – VNS