Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has urged ministries, agencies, and localities to take more drastic measures to ensure traffic safety, particularly on the upcoming traditional Lunar New Year.

Speaking at an online conference in Hanoi on January 13, Phuc, who is also head of the National Committee of Traffic Safety, asked the police forces to heighten inspections and patrols and enforce regulations.

Specifically, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City should encourage the use of public transport instead of individual vehicles. Quang Tri, Kon Tum, Vinh Long, Kien Giang and Ben Tre provinces that saw a rise of up to 10 percent in traffic deaths in 2014 are asked to evaluate their policies and make adjustments to reduce traffic accidents.

The Ministry of Transport together with local and municipal People’s Committees need to ensure technical safety, reform the online ticket sales system, improve service quality, and create more favourable travel conditions for passengers during the traditional Tet holiday.

According to the Ministry of Transport, there were 25,322 traffic accidents nationwide last year, killing 8,996 people and injuring 24,417 others. The figures represent a 13.8 percent decrease in accidents, 4 percent decrease in fatalities and 17.2 percent decrease in injuries.

Though no aviation accidents were reported in 2014, there were 91 cases of safety threats, a 177 percent increase from the previous year. The power outage at the Ho Chi Minh City Area Control Centre is considered the most serious of these events, after it caused delays to three international transit flights and several other domestic routes from Tan Son Nhat airport in November.

Online conference participants discussed effective models to reduce traffic accidents and proposed solutions to realising the 2015 National Assembly and Government target of decreasing the number of annual traffic accidents nationwide by 5-10 percent.-VNA