Police, expressway operator disagree on accident data

By Phuoc Tuan, Dinh Van   March 14, 2024 | 05:28 pm PT
Police, expressway operator disagree on accident data
Cars collide on Dau Giay - Phan Thiet Expressway on Feb. 13, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Thai Ha
The operator of Dau Giay - Phan Thiet Expressway reported nearly 100 traffic accidents since its opening 10 months ago, but the police insisted that the number was not that high.

The Vietnam Expressway Services Engineering JSC, the management unit of the Dau Giay - Phan Thiet Expressway, recently released a report on traffic conditions on the expressway, which runs 99 km through the southern Dong Nai Province and the south central Binh Thuan Province.

According to the report, there have been nearly 100 accidents on the expressway, which entered service last April.

Those accidents resulted in seven deaths and damaged 400 vehicles, the operator said, adding that the data was collected over the 10-month operational period of the route from May 2023 to March 2024.

The Dau Giay - Phan Thiet Expressway links up with the HCMC – Long Thanh – Dau Giay Expressway between HCMC and Dong Nai and currently the vital route connecting HCMC, Dong Nai and Binh Thuan. It enables vehicles to cover the 177-km distance between HCMC and Binh Thuan's Phan Thiet, known for its beaches and sand dunes, in a little more than two hours as against five hours earlier.

The management unit's report was sent to the Traffic Safety Boards of Dong Nai and Binh Thuan provinces to promote drivers' awareness.

However, the patrol and control team for traffic safety on the expressway (team No.6) argued that the accident statistics seems "incorrect and unclear."

Lieutenant Colonel Hoang Xuan An, leader of the team, said the nearly 100 accidents reported in 10 months on the expressway means incidents such as vehicle breakdowns and flat tires were also counted.

He said such incidents should not be classified as accidents.

"Maybe there has been a misunderstanding of the calculation method. It's impossible that the expressway could record such a high number of accidents in that period of time," said An.

He noted that the operation of the Dau Giay - Phan Thiet Expressway had facilitated travel for the public and reduced travel time, and that reporting too many accidents could create a wrong impression that driving on the expressway was dangerous.

He added that the unit would work with the expressway operator to make sure they are on the same page regarding calculating traffic accidents.

Nguyen Thi Hoai Phong, the operator’s deputy director, explained that the company and the traffic police shared the same definition of accidents.

However, the two sides' statistics do not match because "not every accident on the expressway involves police intervention."

She said there were cases of car collisions where drivers could settle the matter among themselves and as a result, the police were not called upon.

Phuong said the expressway currently had no camera and accident statistics were only "approximate."

Many cases involve vehicles colliding and then leaving the scene before her staff or police arrived to record the incident.

Therefore, if fully recorded, the number of accidents could exceed 100, she said.

Currently, her unit is responsible for operating, toll collection, and managing the expressway, while team No.6, which works under the Traffic Police Department of the Ministry of Public Security, is tasked with patrolling, controlling, and handling traffic violations on the route.

Traffic jam on Dau Giay - Phan Thiet Expressway, Feb. 14, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan

Traffic jam on Dau Giay - Phan Thiet Expressway, Feb. 14, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan

The Ministry of Public Security regulates that a traffic accident is an incident occurring due to a driver violating traffic safety regulations or encountering an unexpected problem causing damage to health, life, or property.

Traffic accidents are divided into five categories: traffic collisions, minor traffic accidents, serious accidents, very serious accidents, and especially serious accidents.

Among them, traffic collisions are caused by drivers violating regulations or encountering unexpected problems that result in minor health or property damage.

Other traffic accidents, from minor to especially serious, are classified based on the extent of health damage from 11% or higher, or property damage from VND5 million (US$203).

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