Saigon plans to double traffic fines to combat congestion and accidents

By Staff reporters   December 8, 2017 | 06:39 pm PT
Saigon plans to double traffic fines to combat congestion and accidents
A traffic jam in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Trung Son
The head of the city's transport department says the increased fines are not aimed at boosting the city's budget.

Ho Chi Minh City is deliberating a plan to double fines for traffic violations in an effort to sort out its streets and reduce gridlock and accidents.

According to the proposal, floated by the city’s transport department, drivers who park illegally or drive in the wrong lane, and contractors that do not clear barriers and signs from construction sites once work is completed, will all receive higher fines.

The plan, which was put forward at a meeting of the municipal legislative People’s Council on Monday, is to discourage drivers from violating the rules and has nothing to do with the city’s budget, Bui Xuan Cuong, the department’s director, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Friday.

3,960 traffic accidents were reported in the city last year, and 805 people were killed, up 5.54 and 14.6 percent, respectively, against 2015.

Part of the revenue from the increased fines will be used to train traffic officers, while the rest will be allocated to the city’s police and the National Traffic Safety Committee, he said.

The proposal will be open for public opinion.

Councilor Le Nguyen Minh Quang, head of the HCMC Urban Railway Management Authority, agreed with the proposal, saying that the current fines are too low.

“Traffic chaos worsens during rush hour as drivers ride onto the sidewalk and drive into oncoming traffic,” he said.

The city's mayor, Nguyen Thanh Phong, said in August that up to 7.6 million motorbikes and 700,000 cars were being used in the city.

Traffic congestion has plagued HCMC for a long time, so the city has been trying to find different ways to deal with the problem.

Aside from building overpasses, its latest effort is a plan to impose a congestion charge in the center during rush hour to restrict the number of four-wheel vehicles.

When the plan was rolled out in September, it said the charge could come into force at the same time the city's first metro line is launched in 2020.

In July, the city came up with a roadmap to limit private vehiclesBut Cuong, the transport director, said that the city would not ban motorbikes before 2030.

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