Pedestrians may be subject to imprisonment sentence if they are found to violate road safety regulations and cause fatalities from 2018, when an amended Vietnam’s Penal Code comes into effect.
The amendments to the Penal Code, effective from January 1, 2018, include stricter penalties regarding traffic law offenses caused by pedestrians.
Any pedestrian found guilty of jaywalking may be jailed if the offense either results in at least three deaths; causing harm to at least three people with the total bodily damage ratio of 201 percent; or resulting in property damage worth at least VND1.5 billion (US$66,150). The jail terms for the offender ranges from seven to 15 years.
|A group of student climbs over a median strip in the southern Tien Giang Province.|
In Vietnam, numerous accidents caused by jaywalkers have been recorded, but the offenders often received minor charges.
Fourteen years ago, for instance, a man was walking on a bridge in Ho Chi Minh City when he suddenly decided to cross from one side to another, causing a motorbike driver behind to stop abruptly, eventually falling down and succumbing to death en route to the hospital.
The guilty pedestrian was only handed down a nine-month re-education without imprisonment.
There are various reasons for pedestrians in Vietnam to jaywalk. One of them is the widespread occupation of the sidewalks by street-side booths or parked motorbikes. Moreover, there are not enough zebra crossings on some long streets, forcing the walkers to take short-cut across the roads.
Some other thoroughfares do not have sufficient footbridges or having long median strips.
The following are codes of laws on traffic road in Vietnam (effective from 2008).
1. Pedestrian have to use the sidewalks or pavements. In case of no sidewalks or pavements along the streets, pedestrians have to walk close to the edge of the streets.
2. Pedestrians can only cross the streets where there are traffic lights, zebra crossings, or footbridges, and have to follow the traffic signals.
3. If there are no traffic lights, zebra crossings, or footbridges, pedestrians have to observe the traffic on both ways before crossing the roads.
4. Pedestrians are not allowed to climb over the median strips, nor hold on to moving vehicles. When carrying bulky items, pedestrians have to ensure that their items do not interfere with the traffic and other people.
5. Children under the age of seven must be accompanied by an adult when crossing urban streets or roads having regularly passing vehicles. Adults should have the responsibility of helping any child under seven years old to cross the streets.