HCM CITY — At least four weigh stations that are designed to catch overloaded trucks in HCM City have closed, but local authorities may be unaware of the decision causing public concern about road safety.
Two checkpoints – weigh stations No2 and No3 – on Nguyễn Văn Linh Street in HCM City’s District 7, were closed with no staff to be seen anywhere, reported Giao thông (Transport) newspaper earlier this week.
Nguyễn Văn Linh Street is infamous as a hectic route that frequently sees the passing of overloaded trucks.
At the two checkpoints last Monday afternoon, reporters saw hardly any trucks stopping at the checkpoints.
Last Wednesday, the reporters also visited weigh stations No4 and No5 on Võ Chí Công Street and Đồng Văn Cống Street.
A traffic inspector working at station No4 told reporters that one lane of the station had been out of action for months.
“We reported it to the station manager at the Management Center of Thủ Thiêm Tunnel but it has not been fixed yet,” he said.
The Management Center of Thủ Thiêm Tunnel is assigned to manage the four weigh stations in the city and “regularly reported the operation of the stations to the city’s Transport Department”, said vice director of the department Võ Khánh Hưng.
“The stations have been reported to all be operating normally,” Hưng said.
The broken lane had been reported, Hưng said, adding that staff were always on hand to support traffic inspectors and police in cases of suspected overloaded trucks.
According to HCM City's Transport Department Inspectorate, last year, the four stations detected 1,028 overloaded trucks, collecting fines of VNĐ19.3 billion (US$ 830,000 ).
Since the beginning of this year, the four stations have found 206 violations, collecting more than VNĐ3.5 billion ($150,500) in fines.
People were surprised to find out that along 250km of National Highway No1 from Đồng Nai to Bình Thuận, there were no weigh stations operating when reporters visited last Thursday and Friday.
Chief Inspector of Đồng Nai Province's Transport Department Nguyễn Phan Trọng said that they usually used mobile weigh stations on the highway, but the equipment was under maintenance.
Local traffic inspectors had discovered over 950 violations relating to trucks this year, Trọng said, adding that some drivers intentionally and repeatedly violated vehicle load regulations.
Trọng’s counterpart in Bình Thuận Province, Mai Ngọc Bình, said that there was a mobile weigh station in the province. It was placed on National Highway 55 which led to mineral mines in the bordering area between Bình Thuận and Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province.
Minister of Transport Nguyễn Văn Thể has asked local governments and agencies to strengthen controlling over on-road vehicles’ load.
The move was made following complicated development of overloaded vehicles on roads reported recently.
The overloaded trucks were reported on key national highways such as part of HCM Highway in the northern province of Hòa Bình, part of National Highway 1A in the central province of Thanh Hóa, part of National Highway 70 in the northern province of Yên Bái, part of National Highway 5 in the northern city of Hải Phòng, part of National Highway 18 in the northern province of Quảng Ninh, Hà Nội-Ninh Bình Expressway, Nội Bài-Lào Cai expressway.
Thể asked for further co-operation among transport departments of cities or provinces, police and grassroots authorities to oversee on-road vehicles’ loads.
The load must be checked at inland waterway ports, stations, railways, mines or storehouses where goods are loaded to trucks, Thể said, adding that violations must be punished strictly.
Agencies and the Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam were asked to speed up communication, increasing public understanding about vehicles’ loads, consequences of overloaded vehicles on transport infrastructure and road safety as well as penalties for violations. Violators would be publicised.
Road management departments were asked to tighten control over the load of vehicles running on the National Highways that they are in charge.
Việt Nam Marine Administration and Inland Waterway Administration were asked to strengthen inspecting goods loading activities at ports. VNS