The site of a car crash on Phap Van Expressway (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – A workshop was held in Ho Chi Minh City on April 19 to look into international cooperation in seeking ways to improve traffic safety in Vietnam.

Chairman of the Vietnam Traffic Safety Association Nguyen Hong Truong said nearly 9,000 people lose their lives to traffic accidents nationwide each year, causing economic losses equivalent to 2.5 – 3 percent of the country’s GDP. To solve this challenge, cooperation among the State, scientists, businesses and organisations in ensuring traffic safety is very important.

He appreciated cooperation efforts by Belgian and Vietnamese scientists in finding out traffic accident causes and reviewing domestic and international experience to propose feasible solutions to traffic safety in Vietnam.

Tran Huu Minh, Deputy Chief of Office of the National Traffic Safety Committee, pointed out challenges in terms of road users’ awareness, habits and behaviours. 

Local authorities should step up communications to raise public awareness as right awareness will bring about changes in behaviour, he noted, adding that strict penalties are also necessary to deter road users from violations.

Prof. Geert Wets from Belgium’s Transportation Research Institute shared studies on traffic safety policies in northern regions of his country. He noted that influential educational programmes could be used as effective tools to encourage young people to have safe behaviours.

Talking about Vietnam’s traffic safety strategies until 2020, Tran Huu Minh said the country needs to perfect the law system on traffic safety such as the Law on Road Traffic and the Law on Railway, improve manpower quality, and enhance institutional capacity. Local administrations should boost technology application and regularly deploy patrol forces to ensure traffic safety.

Participants at the workshop also asked the Ministry of Education and Training to reform communication methods and soon include traffic safety education in school curriculum.

In the first quarter of 2018, Vietnam recorded 4,674 traffic accidents that killed 2,149 people and injured 3,627 others. Compared to the same period last year, traffic accident numbers fell by 2.89 percent but fatalities rose 1.66 percent, according to the National Traffic Safety Committee.-VNA