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Vietnam police stop fining car owners lacking fire extinguishers amid controversy

Thursday, January 14, 2016, 15:30 GMT+7

Owners of automobiles will not be fined as stipulated in a police fiat if they do not carry fire extinguishers in the cars, Vietnamese police officers said, adding that competent agencies are considering many factors before any more enforcement.

After the implementation of Circular 57 which requires cars which have four seats and above to be equipped with a fire extinguisher, competent authorities have met with both advocacy and opposition from the drivers and the public in general, said Colonel Doan Huu Thang, deputy chief of the Firefighting and Rescue Police Department under the Ministry of Public Security, which issued the legal document.

“The regulations in Circular 57 are considered new and thus affect a large number of people,” Col. Thang told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Wednesday. “It is therefore inevitable that people give differing opinions on the fiat.”

Authorities will take account of questions and feedback on the difficulties citizens may encounter when following the new rules before announcing any further guidance on the enforcement, he added.

The colonel asserted that the circular was aimed at ensuring the safety of people traveling in the vehicles and minimizing any damage to their possessions.

Fire extinguishers offer drivers immediate measures to prevent any vehicle fire and explosion from spiraling out of control, which would reduce the number of casualties as well as financial damage, he explained.

Officers from all police units under the management of the Ministry of Public Security have been ordered not to impose any punishment upon the vehicle owners who have not outfitted their cars with the compulsory fire safety devices, Col. Thang said.

“The ministry has issued a document to keep all units informed of that. In the coming time, officers will carry out inspections to remind everyone of the new regulations, which will then help citizens understand them more clearly,” the colonel elaborated.

He added that the Ministry of Public Security has also ordered traffic police not to pull over vehicles just to check whether they are equipped with any fire extinguisher.

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