Ministry wants to cap night driving hours to ensure safety

By Anh Duy   August 7, 2023 | 02:40 am PT
Ministry wants to cap night driving hours to ensure safety
Two trucks collide on Trung Luong - My Thuan Expressway in southern Vietnam, at night on November 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Nam An
Truck and bus drivers should not drive for over three hours straight between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., the Ministry of Transport said in a draft bill.

In a draft Law on Road Traffic, the ministry said drivers should not work for more than eight hours per every 24 hours.

They should not drive for more than four hours straight during daytime or for more than three hours straight at night.

According to the ministry's Department for Roads of Vietnam, 40% of accidents in the first six months of this year happened between midnight to 6 a.m.

It said the roads are usually emptier during that time and drivers drop their guard as they are tired and sleepy.

"It is necessary to set the rule to reduce the night driving hours to give drivers more rest," the department said.

As proposed by the department, the driving time will be monitored via cruise control devices which transmit data to the department.

In China, drivers are not allowed to work for over four consecutive hours during the day and two hours at night, and passenger buses are not allowed on certain roads at night to ensure safety.

In Malaysia, the cap is set at four hours, and drivers must rest 30 minutes after working for four hours straight, one day after working for six days in a row, and at least 12 hours before barking on a new trip.

The Vietnam Automobile Transportation Association, however, disagreed with the proposal.

Its chairman Nguyen Van Quyen said in most cases, delivery procedures were mostly done during the day.

At night, drivers pick up goods and transport them because during the night the roads are empty so they can drive smoothly and thoroughly without having to stop halfway more than needed, which means they can save fuel, reduce the risk of traffic collisions and tire wear, he claimed.

If the proposed rule is approved and takes effect, there will be a significant number of drivers switching to work from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., which will result in more traffic gridlocks and accidents, according to the association.

It also disagreed with the suggestion to cut the working time for drivers to eight hours, saying it is reasonable that drivers are ruled to work for no more than 10 hours per day as currently.

"With the existing regulations, businesses only need one or two drivers for a trip but with the proposed rule, they will have to hire more drivers, which will raise their input cost," Quyen said.

Vietnam now has almost 90,000 licensed transport companies. In all, there are operating around 900,000 vehicles, including 308,700 passenger buses and 566,800 trucks, and hiring more than one million drivers.

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