Re: "Get mean and show it" (Thanh Nien Weekly Issue 90, June 17-23, 2011)
Another repeated unwarranted disaster! Until there is serious, SINCERE law enforcement with SEVERE punishment that will deter law breakers, we will keep reading about the disasters like above. Change takes SINCERE effort - enforcement and severe punishment is the best deterrent to this ugly law breaking that is a disease in Vietnam. They break the law repeatedly because they can without concern about any punishment or responsibility. These disastrous events will continue to occur and visitors won't return to Vietnam...so be it. Sad, very sad and unnecessary...
Firstly, I would like to applaud Thanh Nien Weekly for publicizing, yet again, the carnage that is occurring on Vietnam's roads. The only time I'm aware of the road toll is when I read about it in the newspaper. Secondly, what is being done about it? Where are the road safety campaigns? Where are the police after night fall? Why do I constantly see adult motorcyclists riding carelessly and without helmets, why, why, why? There are far too many questions and not enough answers.
Singapore saw a 17 percent reduction in accident fatalities in 2009 as compared to 2008 due to their road safety campaigns. This shows that the message does get across to many. If Vietnam implemented such a program and if we could reduce the road toll by 17 percent, we would have around 1960 less funerals each year.
People say that there are not enough police and I tend to agree with them. Of course, if infringements were heavily penalized, there would be more money to train more police. I'm sure the majority of road users would endorse a hefty increase in traffic fines as it would send a strong message to the law breakers and allow for a heavier police presence. I believe a zero tolerance should be implemented when it comes to road safety and that those who blatantly break the law regardless of how trivial the matter, should have to attend a road safety training course. These courses could be run in conjunction with driver education programs.
The last point I would like to make is that the majority of Vietnamese motorists take care while in control of their vehicles but they must also take into consideration the wellbeing of other road users, both motorist and pedestrians. Using turning indicators or signals before turning is quite helpful to those following behind.
Sidewalks are for pedestrian use, and not for motorist to beat the traffic. Pull over to the side of the road before using a cell phone. Don't stop in the middle of the road to put on your raincoat. Drivers of cars and taxi's should be reminded that they are quite safe when they decide to suddenly and aggressively turn in front of oncoming traffic, but the motorcyclists are vulnerable. There are far too many incidents to mention but I'm sure we all get the picture. Take care, slow down and arrive alive.