Vietnam considers vehicle confiscation to curb drunk driving

Thanh Nien News

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A police officer measures the breath alcohol level of a motorbike driver in Hanoi. Photo: Ngoc Thang A police officer measures the breath alcohol level of a motorbike driver in Hanoi. Photo: Ngoc Thang

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Drunk drivers in Vietnam with high blood alcohol levels could have their vehicles taken away permanently under a new rule being considered by the government. 
The rule, proposed by the National Traffic Safety Committee, states that police officers can confiscate cars and motorbikes from drivers with high concentrations of blood alcohol, exceeding 80 mg per 100 ml of blood, or of breath alcohol, exceeding 0.4 mg per liter. 
These drivers will also have their licenses suspended for two years and will have to retake another driving test after that. 
The committee also proposes tougher DUI fines of up to VND20 million (US$940). 
Head of the committee Khuat Viet Hung told local media that cash penalties alone are not enough to deter drunk driving, believing that vehicle confiscation and license suspension would make drivers think twice. 
“We hope that we don’t have to apply the new rule on anybody though,” said Hung.
Currently vehicles of drunk drivers can only be impounded for a maximum of 30 days.  
The new penalties are expected to be approved this month. 
Traffic accidents killed 317 people and injured 509 others in Vietnam during the Lunar New Year holiday in February, according to the National Traffic Safety Committee. Many of those accidents occurred among people who were driving home after parties.
The new proposal has generally received strong support from the public.
But some people worry that there could be some difficulties when applying the vehicle confiscation rule since many in Vietnam are not the owners of the vehicles they are driving. 

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