Police officers in central Vietnam have asked a traffic violator to write a promise that she would not violate the rules again 50 times, as an alternative to fining her, and received positive feedback from locals on social media.
The incident, posted on the Facebook page of Da Nang City's urban management department and that of I love Da Nang on Sunday, has gained public attention since then.
Tran Viet Hoa, chief of Ngu Hanh Son District Police, confirmed that the incident took place at the Ngu Hanh Son-Ho Xuan Huong Intersection on Friday.
“During a regular patrol, police detected a girl, 20, traveling in the wrong direction on a one-way street, and asked her to stop the vehicle, which made her nervous,” Hoa recounted.
“When told that she had violated the law, the girl said that she had not noticed the sign board on the street.”
Seeing that the girl had violated the rules unintentionally, Hoa and his team offered the offender two options: a fine, or writing ‘I promise not to travel in the wrong direction on a one-way street again’ 50 times.
The girl chose the latter option with relief, Hoa said.
More convincing than fining
“Although this type of punishment is against regulations on penalizing traffic violators, the role of police is to supervise and guide traffic participants to follow the rules,” Hoa continued.
“Fining her is a piece of cake as it just takes us a few minutes to do so, but it’s not convincing, especially to those who are young and have violated the law for the first time, will create negative feelings toward the police and is of low educational value,” he elaborated.
The district’s police department has put an emphasis on strictly enacting traffic penalties in a friendly way, according to the police officer.
“This is more convincing to those who break traffic rules, and raises public awareness more effectively,” Hoa noted.
Many on social media have supported the penalty although such a punishment is against regulations on traffic violations.
Nguyen Van Quan, a resident in Da Nang, commented that although the penalty went against the regulations, he is for the police’s attitude as well as the solution.
“Sometimes stiffness will create an unwanted distance among people,” Quan said.
“It is more critical to foster public traffic awareness and reduce road accidents than to fine those violating the law.”
On one occasion, Tran Van Thanh from Nghe An, a north-central province of Vietnam, admitted that he should have been penalized by traffic police in Da Nang for driving across the Han River Bridge during the prohibited period.
“I should have been heavily fined for my violation, but they recognized that I am from outside the region, so they let me go and warmly reminded me not to violate again,” Thanh said, sharing his thoughts that it was the police’s attitude that made him promise to himself not to break traffic rules when traveling.
Colonel Le Ngoc, head of the traffic police office under the Da Nang Police Department, said that the punishment has proven highly effective in establishing closer bonds between citizens and police officers.
“Besides those who deliberately break traffic rules, there are many situations that require flexibility to solve,” Ngoc said.
“Asking the girl to write a ‘promise’ 50 times is a solid example.”
Previously, the city’s police penalized a traffic offender by directing him to buy chewing gum from an elderly street vendor on December 9, 2015, according to an article of the Ho Chi Minh City Police newswire on December 12, 2015.