Vietnam’s new traffic rule makes yellow the new red to educate bad drivers

By Ba Do   August 15, 2016 | 11:57 pm PT
Drivers argue that coming screeching to a halt for a yellow light is dangerous.

In an attempt to curb traffic violations and improve road conditions, Vietnamese authorities have applied a new traffic law which requires drivers to stop at yellow lights.

Since August 1, yellow lights have been regarded as red lights in Vietnam, and drivers who jump yellow lights are being punished just the same as those who run through red ones.

Traffic police in Vietnam have insisted on applying the new rule, saying that it is designed more to educate a society in which traffic violations are common.

In major cities like Hanoi, traffic violations are prevalent, said senior police official Tran Son Ha, director of Traffic Police Department, adding it is quite common for three or more teenagers to squeeze onto a speeding motorbike without wearing helmets. He called such violations “brazen”.


Major General Tran Son Ha said: "The rule that requires drivers to stop at yellow lights is not a new rule and has been effective for several years." Photo by VnExpress/Ba Do

Drunk driving also contributes significantly to traffic-related deaths in Vietnam, Ha continued. In Vietnam the legal limit is 0.08 percent alcohol-to-blood rate.

Stricter traffic law enforcement with heavier penalties is expected to drastically curb violations, according to the director.

The rule, which makes running yellow lights as bad as red lights, has provided “a stricter and firmer legal basis for traffic officers to take such violations in hand,” Ha emphasized.

Ha also tried to defend the policy, saying that “the rule that requires drivers to stop at yellow lights is not a new rule and has been effective for several years,” before mentioning “some slight penalty adjustments”.

Ha added: “It is the right thing to do because people have been unwilling to listen [to traffic police],” implying that police have failed to ensure drivers fully comply with the traffic law and “only stricter rules would bring about change”.

Authorities have already doubled the penalties for car drivers caught running through either yellow or red lights to VND2 million ($90).

The rule has caused uproar on the internet. People said that it is impossible to slam on the brakes at a moment's notice. They argued that the yellow light exists to tell drivers to slow down before they have to completely stop at a red light, questioning the function of the yellow light when it is now considered functionally the same as a red light.

Accidents have already occurred involving drivers who have tried to stop for yellow lights, with people crashing into the back of them.

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