Monkey see, monkey do

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It is true that foreign tourists drive recklessly and cause accidents. However, compared to the Vietnamese, I think foreigners are accountable for less than 1 percent of all accidents.

Many foreigners rent motorbikes in Vietnam without having to show any driving license. It would be more meaningful if motorbike rental shops stopped giving motorbikes to tourists and expats without a valid license. After all, they are the ones that have to retrieve their bikes from the police if it is seized.

Besides, foreigners should be allowed to use their national driver's license or at least, the international driver's license, in Vietnam. From personal experience, I can say that the motorbike driving exam in this country is a joke. It takes barely two minutes and one learns absolutely nothing about road safety. Foreigners with driver's licenses are much better educated, so why not allow them to use these in Vietnam?

As an alternative, authorities should regulate xe om (motorbike taxi) fares so that foreigners aren't customarily ripped off. Currently, it seems worthwhile to risk driving without a license than to haggle over insane tariffs with xe om drivers.

Ruurd van Putten

I had to laugh at the story, "Foreign tourists flout traffic laws." I guess foreigners are following the example of Vietnamese drivers i.e. ignoring every traffic law. On the roads, the Vietnamese run traffic lights, drive without headlights at night, ignore the helmet rule, drive on the wrong side of the road, cram a family of four on one motorbike, and use mobile phones while driving. You name the law and they break it.

As for calling a kite "an unwieldy load," what you would call some of the objects seen regularly on Vietnamese motorbikes, like doors, trees, live pigs, windows etc.

It is extremely annoying for the police to start blaming foreigners for an increase in accidents. I think if ten Vietnamese drivers were pulled over, a majority would be guilty of some violation or the other. This is a classic case of "the pot calling the kettle black."

Guy Millington

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