The Vietnam Road Administration will install 53 mobile scales on highway routes to crack down on overloaded trucks. They hope to prevent traffic accidents and road damage caused by trucks.

The decision comes close on the heels of the administration's installation of 10 mobile scales in 10 cities and provinces to curb the use of overloaded trucks. The trial checks were very successful after three months of implementation.

According to the administration, mobile scales worth 2.2 billion VND (103,400 USD) each will be set up along key highway routes where heavy trucks and container trucks gather.

The vehicles will be checked round-the-clock. The drivers of overloaded trucks will be fined and face other serious consequences, such as having their driving licenses revoked, paying a fine and having excessive cargo confiscated.

Statistics from the administration show that after three months of implementation, the traffic police have cracked down on more than 3,360 overloaded trucks and taken off 7,270 tonnes of excessive cargo.

More than 750 drivers had their driving licences revoked and the fines collected amounted to 1.4 billion VND (65,800 USD).

Speaking at a recent conference, Le Dinh Tho, Deputy Minister of Transport, said the violations by overloaded trucks have been reduced during this period after rules are enforced and these vehicles checked.

Tho asked the local traffic administrations and traffic police to investigate transport activities at ports and storage in industrial zones to assure that truck drivers did not dodge routes where the scales were installed.

Nguyen Van Thanh, Chairman of the Vietnam Automobile Association, said that many trucks deliberately avoided the check points, especially during bad weather. They travelled by other routes to avoid weight checks. "Fining drivers will not solve the problem as many are forced to carry overloaded cargo by their employers," he said.

Duong Hong Thanh, deputy director of HCM City's Department of Transport, said it was necessary to control the loading capacity of cargo at ports or storage facilities, as 80 percent of trucks departed from these locations.

He also suggested that a regulation on fining employers of truck drivers, together with seizing violated vehicles and cargo, will be more effective.

He added that all ports were equipped with scales, but many trucks carried excessive cargo to assure extra profits from deliveries.

Nguyen Van Quyen, vice head of the administration, said that apart from checking the weight of trucks, the ministry should also strengthen inspections on vehicles travelling on roads and fine all violators of the law.-VNA