Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc requested localities to check the quality of all suspension bridges, especially in mountainous areas, at a teleconference on February 25.

Deputy PM Phuc, who is also Chairman of the National Committee for Traffic Safety, made the instructions after a suspension bridge collapsed in the northeastern mountainous province of Lai Chau on February 24 leaving eight dead and at least 40 others injured.

The accident is a lesson for the transport sector as well as localities, he said, adding that suspension bridges pose potential risks and the transport sector takes responsibility for this.

According to the official, the Government has dispatched two helicopters carrying surgeons from the Hanoi-based Viet Duc and Bach Mai hospitals to Lai Chau to assist with the treatment of victims of the accident.

Regarding traffic safety, Deputy PM Phuc said the numbers of accidents, deaths and injured continued to drop in the first two months of this year, especially during the nine-day Lunar New Year (Tet) festival.

He used the occasion to praise 17 localities where the number of traffic deaths was cut by more than half in the country’s longest holiday, especially the northern provinces of Tuyen Quang, Vinh Phuc, Bac Kan and Lai Chau which saw no traffic deaths.

However, many serious traffic accidents involving coaches, trucks and lorries took place after the festive time, he said, citing eight cases that killed 12 people and injured 43 others from February 7-12.

The incidents show that sustainable traffic management remains a huge challenge, requiring the great efforts of branches, localities and organisations, the Deputy PM said.

To reduce the number of road accidents in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City , he asked ministries, branches and authorities to tighten the management of transportation services and vehicles’ capacity as required in the 2014 National Traffic Safety Year.

He cited the northern port city of Hai Phong , which bans all drivers that test positive for drugs or have hearing and visual impairments, as an example to follow.

Ministries, branches and localities were also asked to devise plans to curb traffic accidents in rural areas while publicising the list of traffic violators via the media.

It is a must for the Ministry of Public Security to renovate its patrol methods, he said, urging the ministry, together with the Ministries of Transport, and Education and Training, to partner with municipal and provincial People’s Committees to roll out drastic measures in order to ensure traffic safety during school examinations and educate students about traffic safety.

The National Committee for Traffic Safety was also asked to coordinate with Vietnam Television, the Vietnam New Agency and other press agencies to raise the efficiency of the work.

So far this year there have been 4,834 traffic accidents reported in Vietnam, leaving 1,818 dead and 4,741 injured.-VNA