Traffic violations are the primary cause of Saigon’s road accidents
The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport is proposing a significant increase to administrative fines levied for traffic violations in an attempt to ease the city’s traffic woes.
The proposal suggested doubling current fines for traffic violations in inner city areas in order to minimize traffic accidents and gridlock in the city.
After collecting feedback, the plan will be submitted to the city’s People’s Council for approval.
According to Bui Xuan Cuong, director of the municipal transport department, the number of traffic crashes and traffic related deaths increased in 2016 compared to the previous year, a majority of which could be attributed to traffic violations.
In the first 11 months of 2017, 97 people were killed in traffic crashes caused by driving on the wrong side of the street and 33 more were killed in accidents caused by speeding, Cuong continued.
Raising the fines in intended to raise awareness of traffic regulations within the local community, not to contribute to the city budget.
The measure is also backed by article 23 under the law on administrative penalties, which was promulgated in 2012, the official elaborated.
Under current regulations, motorcyclists who ignore red lights or directions of traffic police will be fined from VND300,000 ($13.21) to VND400,000 ($17.61).
A similar fine is imposed upon those who ride their motorcycle in the wrong lanes or on prohibited roads.
Illegal parking is subjected to a penalty between VND100,000 ($4.4) to VND1.2 million ($52.84) depending on the severity.
The transport department’s decision to submit the proposal comes against the backdrop of resolution passed by the lawmaking National Assembly in late November to pilot special mechanisms and policies for the development of Ho Chi Minh City.
As the special mechanism mulls over the increase in certain taxes and charges, raising fines for traffic violation falls within its scope.
Raising fines for traffic violations is also included in the city’s overall plan to reduce traffic congestion and traffic related accidents across the southern metropolis, Cuong stated.
Offenses mentioned in the proposal include illegal parking, wrong-way driving, failing to comply with traffic light signals or directions given by traffic police, amongst others.
Penalties for violations related to roadwork and public hygiene on streets are also expected to be raised if the proposal is approved.
Traffic cops will first focus on instructing and reminding local residents to follow traffic rules before a strict enforcement of the new measure, Cuong said, adding that technology will also be applied to assist the process.
Local citizens have expressed their support for the proposal and have offered constructive feedback to maximize its efficiency.
According to Tran Hai Duc, a lawyer from the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association, raising traffic fines is necessary but requires careful consideration due to the direct impact it could have on the lives of residents, especially those with limited income.
To lower traffic crashes and congestion, other solutions should also be carried out, including raising public awareness, improving traffic infrastructure, and limiting negativity behavior from law enforcement.
Nguyen Quang Trung, a car owner, believes that the fine increase should only be applied to certain violations.
The current penalties for some offenses are appropriate and should be kept the same, Trung added.