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After Series of Grave Accidents, Vietnam Amps up Street Inspections, Sobriety Tests

In response to worrisome statistics and high profile accidents, authorities are undertaking a variety of measures to make roads safer. 

As part of the recently announced Traffic Safety Year, authorities will perform a series of highway-side inspections of passenger buses and trucks. The Traffic Police Division under the Ministry of Public Security says it will pull over passenger buses with eight seats and above, trucks weighing five metric tons and over, semi-trailer trucks, and tanker trucks to make sure that they are properly licensed, registered and insured with all relevant paperwork.

In addition to monitoring for traffic violations, authorities will also penalize intoxicated drivers or overloaded vehicles. The checks will be performed in three phases: January 14–20, January 21–30 and February 11–20 on various highways throughout the country.

Efforts to improve road safety extends to non-commercial vehicles with special attention paid to drunk driving. Ho Chi Minh City police began a month-long campaign earlier this week to administer roadside sobriety tests in all 24 districts.  Lasting through February 16, it will target motorbikes, cars, and vans. New traffic signs, warnings and propaganda posters have also been installed.

The country aims to reduce traffic accidents, injuries and deaths by 5–10%, according to Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh. Nationwide in 2018, there were 18,736 accidents resulting in 8,248 fatalities and 14,802 injuries. The numbers represent 6.7%, 0.4% and 15% drops, respectively, compared to 2017.

The New Year holiday saw an uptick in accidents compared to last year, however. Crashes, collisions and general vehicular carnage always increase during the Tet holiday as well. Authorities warn that the population must adopt better driving practices especially as the number of drivers on roads increases and a positive economy fuels commercial transport.

[Photo via Tuoi Tre]

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