Blocked sidewalks lead to 100 road deaths in Saigon each year

By Ngoc Hau   August 4, 2016 | 02:24 am PT
Citizens are forced onto the roads with sidewalks taken up by cafes, motorbikes and whatever else will fit on them.

Deputy head of Ho Chi Minh City’s Office of Traffic Safety Nguyen Ngoc Tuong said that 100 people are killed each year in the city because blocked sidewalks force them into the streets.

Speaking at a meeting on August 3, Tuong blamed the problem on stores, parking lots, cafes and street vendors who set up shops wherever they can.

Tuong said that the sidewalks are only cleared when local authorities show up, but business soon returns to usual when they leave.

“Each locality has to take responsibility for controlling order on its roads. If we do this, the number of accidents will fall.”

The deputy head added that Ho Chi Minh City saw increases in the accident numbers as well deaths and casualties in the first six months of this year. There were some 1,700 accidents, up 31 cases, and 376 deaths, up 25, against the same period last year.

The city also recorded a rise in the number of newly-registered cars and trucks. In the past, around 100 were registered each day, but in the first half of this year the figure has hit 180 and even 250 on some days.

I know a firm that empoys 30-40 drivers, and all of them have to work for more than eight hours per day. If they fall asleep even for a few seconds, accidents can happen, said Tuong.

However, he admitted that the majority of accidents were caused by lack of traffic safety awareness. He said the city should enhance public awareness about traffic safety by installing electronic screens at accident hot-spots.

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