Speed limit lowered on highway after series of deadly accidents

By Hai Le   July 25, 2019 | 07:34 pm PT
Speed limit lowered on highway after series of deadly accidents
People cross the National Highway 5 in Hai Duong Province ahead of running vehicles. Photo by VnExpress/Tran Quang.
Traffic authorities have decreased the speed limit on a section of National Highway 5 where seven people were killed in three accidents Tuesday.

At two intersections of the highway in Cong Hoa Commune in Kim Thanh District, Hai Duong Province, it has been brought down to 60 kph from the highway's 90 kph limit.

The Directorate for Roads on Wednesday also instructed the Vietnam Infrastructure Development and Finance Investment JSC. (Vidifi), which manages the highway, to repair its damaged infrastructure and improve safety.

Vidifi has to install the speed limit signs, crosswalks, stop lines and markings for motorbike lanes, speed bumps on either side of the intersection near the Tuesday accidents, and road reflectors along the divider between the lanes for motorized and non-motorized vehicles.

It also has to build an overpass for pedestrians, motorbikes and non-motorized vehicles to cross the highway at the crossing, install traffic lights and reorganize traffic in the area.

The three accidents on Tuesday took place within an hour, also injuring two people besides damaging six vehicles. One accident killed five people when a truck lost control and hit the divider, flipping on its side and crushing on motorbike drivers who were waiting to cross the road.

Ha Van Hoang, the driver in the accident, was detained on Wednesday pending criminal investigation for violating traffic regulations.

Officials say that the population alongside the highway has been getting denser in recent years, and many people have created their own crossings by breaking the divider.

Locals said they are aware of the safety risks but it's a convenient choice because designated crossings are at least one kilometer away.

On the 17-kilometer section that passes through the accident-prone Kim Thanh District in Hai Duong Province, there are as many as 17 unauthorized crossings and only five footbridges.

In just the last six months 10 accidents have occurred along the section, resulting in 21 casualties. In January, eight people walking along the highway were mowed down by a truck.

Road crashes are a leading cause of death in Vietnam, killing almost one person every hour. More than 18,720 accidents occurred last year, killing 8,244 people and injuring nearly 14,800, according to the National Traffic Safety Committee.

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