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Vietnam transport official moots separate lane for heavy trucks following deadly crash

Friday, January 04, 2019, 18:15 GMT+7
Vietnam transport official moots separate lane for heavy trucks following deadly crash
Heavy trucks and motorbikes travel in the same lane along a section of the Hanoi Highway in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Transport Le Dinh Tho has proposed that heavy trucks be given separate lanes from those dedicated to motorcycles along national highways, after a recent accident that killed at least four and injured 18 others in the Mekong Delta province of Long An.

The idea was floated during a press conference organized following the tragic accident on Wednesday.

About 21 motorcycles waiting at a traffic light at the Binh Nhut intersection of National Highway 1 in Long An’s Ben Luc District were struck by a trailer truck at around 3:20 pm that day.

The driver later tested positive for heroine and alcohol, but he claimed to only consume beer prior to the crash.

Three people were killed on the spot and another passed away at the hospital. Eighteen other victims were injured.

Speaking to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper after the press meeting, Deputy Minister Tho admitted it is difficult to establish truck lanes along all national highways due to the lack of economic resources.

However, the transport sector could consider designating motorbikes and four-wheel vehicles in different lanes with median barriers at least at intersections to ensure safety for those waiting at red lights, the official continued.

In order to minimize accidents, authorities must, at the same time, improve traffic infrastructure, ensure technical quality of vehicles on the streets, and raise road users’ awareness of traffic safety, he added.

A combined lane on Mai Chi Tho Street in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A combined lane on Mai Chi Tho Street in District 2, Ho Chi Minh CityPhoto: Tuoi Tre

Truck drivers’ perspective

Nguyen Van Sam, 35, who has been a truck driver for 15 years, believed that all drivers want to ensure safety for themselves and others.

“It’s just very dangerous that heavy trucks and motorbikes still travel in the same lane along many roads throughout the country now,” Sam said.

Some motorcyclists are very careless and reckless, which magnifies the risk of crashes, the driver remarked.

“I hope that lane dividers will soon be established, at least in front of local intersections,” Sam stressed.

Vu Viet Ri, who often drives his truck in the Mekong Delta, said he is very afraid of traveling on streets with a combined lane.

It is really easy to hit other motorbikes, especially at rush hour, Ri stated, adding that he has to stay focused and drive at a rather slow speed along such streets.

The driver expressed his support for the separate lanes for trucks and two-wheelers, suggesting that hefty fines should be imposed upon those traveling in the wrong lane.

Driving under the influence

According to driver Nguyen Duy Phuc, many truckers are still using stimulants to keep themselves awake during long-haul journeys, which is the reason for many serious accidents.

“This type of driver is a threat to our society. Authorities should closely monitor the situation and sternly punish violators,” Phuc asserted.

Truck drivers should undergo regular health examinations and blood tests, he suggested, adding that they are only allowed to drive if they are confirmed  not to use drugs or other stimulants.

Lam Thieu Quan, a local traffic expert, recommended that local residents should also promptly report to police officers if they are aware of a driver who drives under the influence of drugs.

Those who know but fail to report should also be fined, Quan added.

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Duy Khang / Tuoi Tre News

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