Higher speed limit blamed for accelerated traffic accidents in Saigon

By Huu Nguyen   December 2, 2016 | 05:19 am PT
Higher speed limit blamed for accelerated traffic accidents in Saigon
A scene of a traffic accident in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Son Hoa
The number of traffic accidents and deaths has risen since the speed limit was raised.

Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City have raised concerns over the rising number of traffic accidents and fatalities that have occurred since the speed limit was increased.

The municipal government increased the speed limit on several roads in the city by 10kph in March following a circular released by the Ministry of Transport. The speed limit was raised to 60kph for roads with central reservations and one-way two-lane roads, and to 50kph for two-way roads without central reservations and one-way one-lane roads.

On the 12 roads where the speed limit has been raised, eight had more traffic-related deaths and nine saw more accidents, Ngo Hai Duong, a senior official at the HCMC Department of Transport, told a conference on Friday.

Huynh Trung Phong, deputy head of traffic police in the city, said the higher speed limit combined with the rising number of vehicles and limited transport infrastructure have caused traffic accidents to spike. However, he also attributed the increase in the number of accidents to people’s lack of traffic safety awareness.

The number of traffic accidents is now higher in the inner city than on the outskirts because the speed limit in residential areas has been raised, Phong added.

Representatives from some districts on the outskirts of the city agreed that higher speed limits have indirectly caused more accidents.

Transport officials and police have said they will look at roads where more accidents are occurring and ask the municipal government to adjust the speed limit if necessary, said Nguyen Ngoc Tuong, deputy head of the Transport Safety Board under the transport department.

Last year, road traffic deaths were 30 times higher than the number of people killed by pandemic diseases, Nguyen Thien Nhan, chairman of the Vietnam Fatherland Front, said last month.

According to the World Health Organization, road traffic accidents kill approximately 14,000 people in Vietnam every year and are the leading cause of death among those aged between 15 and 29. Motorcyclists account for more than half of the fatalities.

Official statistics show that in the past five years, the death toll decreased by 21 percent to about 48,000 and the number of injured people fell by 22 percent to 162,000, compared to the previous five years.

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