Vietnam is planning a crackdown on truck overloading, an age old problem that officials say has to be solved with stronger legal measures, including criminal prosecutions.
Overloading vehicles should be considered a crime when the loads are 2.5 times heavier than the permitted weight, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at a recent conference on traffic safety.
“Relevant agencies have to propose criminal penalties against overloading, which is an act that damages national property," he said.
Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang said overweight trucks have become a complicated problem, particularly in provinces with mining activities and near the border with China and Laos.
“In many provinces like Ninh Binh, Ha Nam, Dong Nai and Binh Duong, overweight trucks near mineral mines, construction sites, ports and economic zones have not been handled properly," Thang said.
In August, the Ministry of Public Security arrested eight people accused of selling purported immunity stickers to help drivers pass police checkpoints in Ho Chi Minh City and nearby provinces.
Police said the gang printed a range of special stickers and sold them to more than 1,000 truck owners and drivers for VND500,000-VND3 million (US$22-$132). Each sticker was valid for a month.
Drivers were told to attach the stickers to their windshield and their violations would be ignored.
HCMC police have confirmed that no officer was involved in the gang’s operation.
Deputy Prime Minister Phuc said that similar gangs have operated in other localities nationwide.
All violations have to be punished strictly and traffic police need to make sure nobody is above the law, he said.
“The message is strong and clear: there can’t be exemptions,” he said.
The transport ministry reported nearly 16,500 traffic accidents so far this year, with 6,518 people killed and 14,929 injured.
Road accidents have slightly fallen while waterway and railway accidents increased 30 percent and 40 percent from the same period last year.