8,000 march in Hanoi against drunk driving

By Gia Chinh   May 14, 2019 | 02:30 am PT
8,000 march in Hanoi against drunk driving
Vietnamese officials join residents in Hanoi in a march against drunk driving, May 12, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Chinh
Over 8,000 people marched in Hanoi on Sunday to protest against drunk driving, a reaction to recent accidents involving alcohol consumption.

The event, organized by the National Traffic Safety Committee and Hanoi authorities, attracted over 8,000 people from all walks of life sporting uniforms and banners saying "Drinking no driving, driving no drinking" and "Youths say no to alcohol" around the central Sword Lake.

Deputy Prime Minister and chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee, Truong Hoa Binh, who also participated in the event, implored drivers to not drink before driving a vehicle and not force companions to drink if they have to drive afterwards.

"Restaurant owners should also ask and provide non-alcoholic drinks to customers who have to drive after finishing their food," Binh said.

Deadly road crashes due to driving under the influence have claimed a number of lives recently. Earlier this month the Hanoi police arrested a man who, after drinking at least six bottles of beer, drove a Mercedes and killed two women.

On April 22, a street cleaner was hit and killed by a car driver who also had many glasses of beer earlier.

Last month an American man was sentenced to three years in jail for killing a woman after driving drunk in Saigon last January.

Any volume of alcohol in a vehicle driver’s blood is illegal in Vietnam and can attract fines of VND2-18 million ($85-767).

Vietnamese men consume among the most alcohol in the world, drinking over five standard drinks a day on average, meaning 50 grams of alcohol, according to the 2016 Global Burden of Disease Study.

The country is also the biggest beer market in Southeast Asia, partly owing to its famous beer drinking culture at gatherings and events and for closing business deals.

Road crashes are a leading cause of death in Vietnam, with one person dying almost every hour. More than 18,720 accidents occurred in 2018, killing 8,244 people and injuring nearly 14,800, according to the National Traffic Safety Committee.

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