Scene of the accident in Bến Lức District of Long An Province.— Photo thanhnien.vn
HCM CITY — It may have only been five seconds long, but the video clip that went viral of a truck smashing into 21 motorbikes has left a permanent scar on those who viewed it.
Four people died and 18 needed hospital treated after the crash Bình Nhựt crossroads in Bến Lức District of Long An Province.
The driver of the truck, Pham Thanh Hieu tested positive for both alcohol and heroin. He remains in police custody.
The accident occurred at an intersection with high density of traffic where cars, trucks, and buses share the lane with motorbikes.
According to HCM City’s Transport Department, the inner city has more than 4,000 roads with about 5,000 crossroads.
Among 4,200km of roads in the inner city, less than 200km have separate lanes for cars and motorbikes. The other 4,000km have no separation for different types of vehicles.
According to the city’s traffic safety committee, in a lot of serious accidents, motorbikes share the lane with cars were collided by bigger vehicles. For example, a BMW car crashed in five motorbikes in a row at Hàng Xanh intersection in HCM City’s Bình Thạnh Street, killing one and injuring six last October.
An officer of HCM City’s road and railway police division told Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper the majority of provincial roads leading to HCM City have separate lanes such as Hà Nội Highway, Phạm Văn Đồng, National Highway No.1A, 22, 13. But on the inner city roads where density of vehicles is higher, motorbikes and cars share the same lanes.
“Traffic infrastructure capacity has not kept up with the fast-growing number of vehicles. Lane separation requires large investment,” he said.
Ngô Hải Đường, head of the city Road Transport Operation and Management Division said a requirement that must be followed to avoid accidents is motorbikes must run on separate lanes.
“A mix of vehicles on one lane is the reason for traffic congestion and poses risks of extremely serious accidents,” he said.
Police officers of HCM City interviewed by Thanh Niên agreed on having separate lanes for cars and motorbikes. But they shared the view the funds are not there to implement such a plan.
The expenditure on transport infrastructure is in shortage. The city needed about US$40 billion to fully develop its transport infrastructure as planned in 2013. The cost now has climbed much higher. Meanwhile investment in traffic infrastructure ranges from only VNĐ10 trillion ($425.5 million) to VNĐ12 trillion ($510.6 million) per year, according to Đường.
Residential areas, industrial zones and ports are located next to each other, making it difficult to separate lanes, Đường said.
Another police officer of HCM City’s road and railway police division told Thanh Niên many motorbike drivers park right in front of cars while they are waiting for traffic lights so that they can go faster when the light turns green. In case of any accident, those people are at a higher risk.
On Võ Văn Kiệt and Phạm Văn Đồng streets, there are separate lanes for motorbikes in rush hours but thousands of people take risks and drive their motorbikes in the car lanes. The officer said violation is one of the leading reasons of fatal accidents.
“Be cautious and observe all around. Park your vehicles on the right lane and keep a certain distance away from the vehicle in front of you. That’s the tip for safe driving,” he said.
One basic rule every car driver must know is to check the brakes are working before going on the road, he said. — VNS