Vietnam restaurants, clubs offer free rides home for drunk drivers

By Minh Hung, Thanh Nien News

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Police test a motorbike driver in Hanoi for alcohol. Photo: Ngoc Thang Police test a motorbike driver in Hanoi for alcohol. Photo: Ngoc Thang

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Vietnam has launched a new campaign to combat drunk driving, asking restaurants, bars and nightclubs to take their intoxicated patrons home to reduce traffic accidents, a leading cause of death in the country. 
The initiative, led by the National Traffic Safety Committee and the Vietnam Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Association, will start in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang before being rolled out nationwide. 
Trang An Restaurant on Hanoi’s Tang Bat Ho Street has been selected for the trial period. Its representative Phan Doan Lam said all employees have been trained to be able to discuss with customers about drunk driving. 
“If our guests need to ride their motorbikes home after drinking, our staff will take them home free of charge, either on their bike or by taxi,” he said.
The restaurant also shows signs on responsible drinking and dangers of drunk driving on its walls and on beer glasses, he said.
Motorcycles are the primary means of transport in Vietnam. They account for 70 percent of traffic accidents, according to the National Traffic Safety Committee.
Over 43 million motorbikes have been registered, or 85 percent of vehicles nationwide. That is far exceeding the 36-million target set for 2020. The country is now home to over 89 million people. 
A total of 8,996 people were killed and 24,417 others injured in traffic accidents nationwide between December 16, 2013 and December 15, 2014.
The figure represented a slight decline from the previous year, which saw 9,369 traffic-related deaths.
But to put that in perspective, last year's figure still translates to roughly 24 deaths per day, according to the National Traffic Safety Committee.

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