Cameras and speed monitoring devices will be installed along the Phap Van-Cau Gie-Ninh Binh and Noi Bai-Lao Cai expressways this year.

Officials hope the new monitoring equipment will improve vehicle owners' awareness and provide monitoring of traffic for government agencies, said Nguyen Van Huyen, Director of the Directorate for Roads of Vietnam.

The National Committee for Traffic Safety will co-ordinate with the FPT Telecom joint stock company and Hanel one member company to begin the installation of 74 surveillance cameras and 22 speed monitoring devices at a cost of 193 billion VND (8.8 million USD).

Surveillance cameras and speed monitoring devices will record violations and data will be sent to Traffic Police Department's Information Centre and then transmitted to laptop computers of traffic police who are on duty along the route. Penalties will be imposed in accordance with the violations caught on camera.

Tran Long, a Hanoian, who owns an 8-seat Captiva car, told a Tin Tuc (News) reporter that he agreed with the passive fines or a notice being sent to violators, because this not only improves drivers' awareness, but also ensure safer traffic conditions.

"However, to carry out the initiative effectively, all activities, from dissemination programme to imposing fines, should be implemented in a synchronised and transparent manner," he said.

Hanoi began imposing passive fines recorded through surveillance in February this year, but this measure has not always been effective due to the time-consuming process for levying administrative fines and problems, such as violators not being owners of vehicles. Other problems include contacting violators who no longer live where the vehicles were originally registered.

The fact that Decree 171, which stipulates administrative fines, only applies to vehicle drivers and not the owner of vehicles makes it difficult for police to impose fines.

It often takes a long time to collect administrative fines because, after identifying the number plates, address and owners of a violating vehicle, traffic officers will send a notice to the owners through the local police. If the violators fail to pay after receiving the notice for a third time, traffic police will work with local police to assure the fine is paid.

To overcome such problems, the Traffic Police Department has suggested a proposal which allows traffic police to stop vehicles at toll stations and ask drivers to immediately pay the penalties based on the picture and report of traffic violations on the system, said Nguyen Toan Thang, Deputy Director of FPT company.

According to Huyen, the FPT and Hanel companies will be responsible for the cost of construction, operation and maintenance of the system. The two companies have proposed that they earn back their investment in the form of Built-Transfer-Operate and Built-Own-Operate.

To put the system into operation as soon as possible, the FPT Telecom joint stock company will release the fund in advance (which includes capital for construction, installation, operation and maintenance) and earn back its investment by collecting tolls on these expressways.

Once their investment has been returned, the entire system will be transferred to Vietnam Expressway Corporation for management and operation.

Based on the result of the pilot programme on these expressways, the Ministry of Transport will install similar systems on highways nationwide, Huyen said.-VNA