Saigon reports rise in traffic fatalities

By VnExpress   September 29, 2016 | 11:24 am GMT+7
Saigon reports rise in traffic fatalities
Rise of individual vehicles has been blamed for the increase of road crashes in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress

Officials say 607 city residents perished in traffic accidents during the first nine months of 2016.

Ho Chi Minh City reported a significant rise in traffic accidents and related deaths in the first nine months of this year, a problem one official blamed on an excess of vehicles and drunk drivers.

The city’s transportation department says traffic accidents increased nearly 9 percent from a year ago to 2,919 between January and September. Fatalities rose 15.4 percent to 607 - an average of two deaths per day- while the number of reported injuries increased 1.5 percent to 2,377.

Nguyen Ngoc Tuong from the city’s Traffic Safety Department claimed the figures represented the first such increase after eight straight years of decline.

He blamed the sudden surge on drunk driving and the rapid addition of private vehicles that have exceeded the capacity of the municipal infrastructure.

A recent survey by the World Health Organization and Vietnam’s Ministry of Health found 77 percent of men and 11 percent of women in Vietnam drink alcohol.

The joint survey further reported that 44 percent of men had engaged in hazardous drinking within a month of the survey. Researchers defined hazardous drinking as over 180 milliliters of hard liquor or over six cans of beer in one sitting. Half of the hazardous drinking respondents further reported having operated a vehicle within two hours of finishing their last drink.

Ho Chi Minh City registers nearly 4,200 new cars and 9,000 new motorbikes, every month.

Buses provide the only means of public transportation, but ridership has fallen amid a lack of investment.

Work is currently underway on the city's first subway, but the first rail line linking the city's downtown to District 9 will begin operating in 2018, assuming work proceeds as planned.

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