Pedestrians to face jail time in Vietnam for causing deadly accidents

By Vi Vu   December 20, 2017 | 02:52 am PT
Pedestrians to face jail time in Vietnam for causing deadly accidents
Pedestrians share the sidewalk with motorbikes in Saigon. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen
Traffic accidents kill on average one person every hour, but pedestrians are hardly ever blamed for these deadly incidents.

Vietnam’s revised Penal Code will extend criminal terms for road safety violations to pedestrians as well as drivers when it comes into force at the start of next year.

The new law is going to supplant the crime of “breaching regulations on operating road vehicles” with “violating regulations regarding road usage.”

Under the new law, road safety violations that result in a fatality will be punishable by up to five years in jail. The jail terms will be increased to up to 10 years if there are two fatalities, and 15 years if three of more people die.

Advocates of the new law said that it’s time pedestrians took responsibility for road safety, while opponents said that the country’s infrastructure is poor so sometimes pedestrians have to cross the road in the wrong place or "invade" the roads.

Traffic accidents in Vietnam kill on average one person every hour, but pedestrians are hardly ever blamed for these deadly incidents.

Vietnam had scheduled to implement the 2015 Penal Code in July 2016, but it was shelved due to multiple errors and loopholes and only received final approval from the legislative National Assembly in June.

The new law scraps the death penalty for convicts over 75 years old, as well as those convicted of robbery, vandalizing equipment and works significant to national security, opposing order, surrendering to the enemy, drug possession and appropriation, the production and trade of fake food, and corruption and taking bribes if they return 75 percent of their ill-gotten gains.

Non-material bribery, which possibly involves sex, will also be criminalized from next year.

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