People using cellphones while driving will likely be fined up to US$35.6 in the near future, according to a draft decree of the Ministry of Transport detailing penalties for traffic law violators.
Accordingly, a fine ranging from VND600,000 (US$26.7) to VND800,000 ($35.6) has been proposed for this act by the board that drafted the decree.
The draft decree is meant to improve road safety and reduce traffic accidents as well as amend and supplement existing Decrees 171 and 201 on punishment for traffic rule breakers.
The penalties are aimed at deterring drivers from using cellphones when driving, a practice that can make them lose concentration, leading to tragic accidents.
The inclusion of that type of fine, the first of its kind in Vietnam so far, is in line with the 1968 International Convention on Road Traffic to which Vietnam has been party, according to the board.
This fine is only a small part of the draft decree that also sets out heavier penalties for drunk drivers and those riding motorbikes on expressways in Vietnam.
Accordingly, the highest fine of VND14-16 million ($623-712), compared to the current VND10-15 million ($445-667.3), is proposed for car drivers with alcohol levels of over 0.4 mg per liter of breath or over 80 mg per 100 ml of blood.
Meanwhile, those who drive motorbikes or non-motorized vehicles on expressways would be given fines ranging from VND2 million to VND4 million ($178), or 10 times the current rates of VND200,000-400,000.
The ministry will submit this draft decree to the central government for consideration next month and if it is approved, it will be promulgated in December this year, the transport ministry said.