Time to round up drug-using drivers: Vietnam official

Thanh Nien News

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A container truck driver is pulled over on a highway in Hanoi. Photo: Ngoc Thang A container truck driver is pulled over on a highway in Hanoi. Photo: Ngoc Thang


Truck drivers found using drugs should be put in mandatory rehabilitation instead of just being dismissed, a transport official said.
“Whenever being fired for using drugs, the drivers just applied for a new job at another company and used drugs again,” Nguyen Thanh Chung, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport, said at a teleconference held by the Ministry of Transport Tuesday.
“These drivers should have been rehabilitated before being allowed on the streets again,” he said.
Currently, police only warn transport companies against letting drug users drive their trucks. 
The current policy does not end the drug driving problem, which may lead to tragic accidents, Chung said.
In Vietnam, only drug users who relapse after community-based rehabilitation programs are admitted to compulsory treatment centers.
According to the transport ministry, drug use has become more common among truck drivers and is now a major cause of traffic accidents.
The ministry reported a total of 22 traffic accidents involving container trucks in the first five months this year, mostly in HCMC, Hai Phong, Binh Duong and Dong Nai.
Ten of these cases happened in HCMC, killing eight people and injuring five others.
This has prompted HCMC authorities to set up a joint task force, including police officers and medical workers, to inspect drivers under the influence of drugs on July 1.
According to the National Traffic Safety Committee, an inspection last year of 136,000 drivers nationwide found 526 of them using drugs and 1,500 others not meeting health requirements. 

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