Vietnam mulls higher fines for drunk drivers

By Mai Ha, Thanh Nien News

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A driver being tested for breath alcohol content in Quang Ninh Province. Photo: Thuy Hang A driver being tested for breath alcohol content in Quang Ninh Province. Photo: Thuy Hang


The Ministry of Transport is collecting opinions about a draft decree that proposes increasing fines across the board for traffic violations, especially drunk driving, thought to be the cause of every fifth road accident in the country.
It envisages fines of up to VND5 million (US$222) for car drivers with blood alcohol content of under 50 mg per 100 milliliters or breath alcohol content of 0.25 mg per liter.
It is equivalent to a little over a can of beer or 30 ml of liquor.
For higher alcohol content, the ministry proposes fines of up to VND16 million and suspension of the driving license for three months, up from the current two.
Vietnamese laws allow for zero alcohol content for car drivers.
For motorbike drivers, the legal limit is 50mg/100ml for blood alcohol and 0.25mg/l for breath alcohol.
The ministry also proposes increasing the fine to up to VND7 million for drunk motorbike drivers.
Drunk driving has been increasing with the number of accidents involving alcohol accounting now for 16-20 percent, the ministry said in a statement.
However, an earlier proposal by the National Traffic Safety Committee to seize vehicles from drunk drivers has not been included in the draft.
Expressway violations, overloaded trucks
People riding motorbikes on expressways meant for cars and other large vehicles are likely to pay 10 times the current fine of VND400,000 if the decree is approved. Repeat offenders will have their vehicle seized.
The ministry proposes doubling the current fine of VND8 million for drivers of overloaded trucks and an additional fine of up to VND36 million for vehicle owners.
Overloaded trucks are a common sight, with trucks often carrying three times their allowed capacity, which seriously damages roads, the ministry said.
The National Traffic Safety Committee has reported a total of 14,622 traffic accidents so far this year, in which 5,821 people died and 13,234 others were injured. The death rate, 241 less year-on-year, translates to 24 daily.
So far this year nearly 210,000 new cars and 2.1 million motorbikes have been registered, adding to an existing 2.6 million cars and 43.4 million motorbikes.

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