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Debate erupts after second death caused by steel sheets in Hanoi

Monday, September 26, 2016, 15:49 GMT+7

A woman had her neck cut by steel sheets and lost her life on Sunday in an accident in Hanoi that was similar to the one killing a little boy two days earlier, leading to an argument about who was at fault.

The latest fatal accident occurred at the Mai Linh Bridge in Ha Dong District at around 2:00 pm, when Bui Thi Sam, 64, was waiting for a passenger bus with two other women.

Sam was hit in the neck by steel sheets carried on a cart towed by a motorbike ridden by Tran Huu Dan, 35, from Quoc Oai District, after the cart came off the vehicle because of the ropes tying it to the bike becoming loose.

The victim was admitted to Hospital 103 with a 20-centimeter-long cut to the front part of her neck, leaving her trachea and regional blood vessels cut open. She failed to survive despite emergency treatment.

Previously, a nine-year-old boy in the capital died from severe blood loss over a cut to his throat on Friday afternoon after crashing into a parked cyclo carrying steel sheets used for roofing.

The two cases have sparked public debate over whether these were purely accidents or man-made incidents.

Many suggested that strict measures should be taken to reduce such a kind of steel sheet transport for traffic safety.

“It is not uncommon to find motorbikes, three-wheeled vehicles fully loaded with building materials like water pipes or steel sheets as long as four meters zigzagging on the street, posing a great threat to travelers,” Kim Thu, a Ho Chi Minh City resident, said.

“But traffic police tend to take no action to penalize or warn them of their violations,” she said, adding that any strict measures should be applied to settle the issue as soon as possible.

Hong Tham, living in Dong Nai, said that delivery of building materials can be conducted in many other safer transport ways.

“Please treasure lives. There are many ways to transport such materials more safely than these [vehicles],” Tham said.

Lawyer Bui Quang Nghiem, deputy chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association, said that travelers’ awareness does count, but police’s responsibility also matters.

“Due to several reasons, many policemen have turned a blind eye to such violators,” he said.

According to lawyer Thai Van Chung, director of the Ho Chi Minh City-based Nguyen Giap law firm, a lack of severe punishment for those transporting goods with human- or animal-powered vehicles is one of the hindrances for police to handle such cases.

“Currently, the Ministry of Transport has promulgated regulations and related punishments for goods transport by automobile, but few penalties for self-made or non-motorized vehicles are listed in the law,” he complained.

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