Vietnam a safe destination, but roads a safety risk

By Nguyen Quy   March 11, 2019 | 07:52 pm PT
Vietnam a safe destination, but roads a safety risk
Foreign tourists take a cyclo ride around Hanoi in February 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Duong
Low levels of violent crime and terrorist attacks have made Vietnam a very safe travel destination, but not its roads. 

Tourists face very low threat from terrorism and the rate of political violence, petty crimes and minor offenses is insignficant, according to the Travel Risk Map for 2019 compiled by International SOS and Control Risks.

Vietnam has been classed as having a "low" travel security risk.

Neighboring countries such as Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines were considered "not completely safe" while Singapore and Brunei are "safest places" to travel in Southeast Asia.

More than 30 countries, mainly in Africa and the Middle East regions, received a "high" terror threat rating.

According to the Institute for Economics and Peace, there are only 10 countries in the world that are free from conflict right now, and Vietnam is one of them.

However, this picture changes when it comes to road safety.

The Road Safety Risk Map for 2019 released by International SOS and Control Risks shows Thailand and Vietnam are the only two countries in Southeast Asia with road deaths deemed "very high" based on the number of fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants per year.

According to new statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), the road death rates in Thailand and Vietnam respectively reached 32.6 and 26.1 per 100,000 last year. In Vietnam, more than 18,720 accidents occurred last year, killing 8,244 people and injuring nearly 14,800, according to the National Traffic Safety Committee.

Singapore stood at the other end as the only ASEAN country with "very low" road safety risk.

Traffic accidents remain the biggest single cause of fatalities in Vietnam even as the country works hard to make local roads safer.

Traffic congestion, inadequate law enforcement, poor driving skills and bad street conditions are often cited as the main reasons for road crashes.

It has been estimated that on average, each year, around 9,000 people die on Vietnamese roads, or one every hour, costing the country approximately 2.5 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP).

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