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Community service proposed as punishment for drunk driving in Vietnam

Saturday, May 11, 2019, 17:03 GMT+7
Community service proposed as punishment for drunk driving in Vietnam
Police officers carry out breath tests at a vehicle checkpoint in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Le Phan / Tuoi Tre

A Vietnamese lawmaker has proposed community service be used as punishment for drunk driving to deter violators following recent fatal accidents involving intoxicated drivers in the Southeast Asian country.

Phung Quoc Hien, vice chairman of the lawmaking National Assembly, made the proposal at a meeting of the legislature’s standing committee on Thursday.

“We should add community service as a punishment [for DUI crimes],” Hien said.

“Violators might not be deterred by fines, but they will if we force them to do unpaid work such as dredging the To Lich River,” Hien said, referring to a notoriously polluted river in Hanoi.

The lawmaker also proposed permanently revoking driving license of those intoxicated drivers.

Currently, drunk drivers in Vietnam face fines of up to VND18 million (US$770) if they are operating a car and up to VND3 million ($130) if they are riding a motorcycle.

“[The proposed punishment] does not goes against the 1930 UN Convention Concerning Forced or Compulsory Labor, as it’s not forced labor but community service aimed at educating violators,” the legislature’s chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan said Thursday, showing support to the idea.

Police officers carry out breath tests at a vehicle checkpoint in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: H.D. / Tuoi Tre
Police officers carry out breath tests at a vehicle checkpoint in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: H.D. / Tuoi Tre

The proposal has received overwhelming support from Vietnamese citizens.

“It should be a serious punishment that can last weeks or even months,” Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reader Tue Nghi writes in a comment.

Another reader suggests forcing violators to wear safety vests with “DUI violator” written on them as a further shaming device.

DUI has been in the media spotlight in Vietnam following multiple deadly accidents involving drunk drivers.

Two women, both 43 years old, were fatally hit by a drunk driver in a Mercedes Benz at the entrance to the Kim Lien Underpass in Hanoi early May 1.

The tragic accident came less than ten days after another drunk driver fatally crashed into a female street sweeper in the Vietnamese capital on April 22.

On Facebook, users from across the country are joining a movement to condemn drunk drivers by adding photo frames to their profile pictures with messages such as “Drunk driving is crime” and “Drink Don’t Drive”.

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