Vietnam raises traffic violation fines

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Fines for traffic violations will be increased and electric bicycle drivers will have to wear helmets starting May 20, under a new decree.

According to the decree, which replaces one issued in 2007, car drivers will be fined VND800,000- 1.2 million (US$42-63) if they are caught speeding by 10-20 kilometers/hour instead of the current VND600,000-1 million.

The fines go up to VND2-3 million instead of VND1-3 million if they are speeding by 20-35 kilometers/hour. Speeding by more than 35 kilometer/hour will be subject to cash penalties of VND4-6 million, instead of the current VND3-5 million.

Higher penalties will also be imposed for drunk driving: VND2-3 million if the driver is found with 50-80mg of alcohol in every 100 ml of blood (0.4mg of alcohol in a liter of air breathed out), and VND4-6 million if the alcohol concentration is even higher. The penalties under current regulations range between VND1-5 million.

Car drivers disobeying traffic signs will be fined VND600,000- 800,000, about VND200,000 higher than current fines.

The new decree also imposes new penalties on traffic violations.

People on electric bicycles will be fined VND100,000-200,000 if they don't wear a helmet or don't fasten the helmet belt properly. Helmets for motorbike drivers and pillion riders have been compulsory since December 2007.

Cars will be fined VND300,000- 500,000 for parking at banned spots, on roads, or if the parking disturbs traffic flow.

The decree, submitted by the Ministry of Transport, allows Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to raise traffic fines by 40-200 percent higher than average levels across the country in their downtown areas.

Car drivers in the cities' downtown areas will be fined VND1.4-2 million for driving on banned streets or in banned directions, or for over-speeding. The average penalty is VND800,000-1.2 million.

The draft also raises fines for pedestrians who walk over street dividers or carry big objects that affect the traffic flow to a maximum of VND120,000.

Apart from cash fines, traffic offenders can also be penalized with other measures like having their licenses revoked, depending on the violation.

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