Vietnam traffic police begin random checks for drunk driving

By Ba Do, Gia Chinh   May 15, 2020 | 06:30 pm PT
Vietnam traffic police begin random checks for drunk driving
A police officer checks papers of a truck driver on Hanoi-Hai Phong Expressway, May 15, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Ba Do.
Thousands of traffic police officers are swarming the streets of Vietnam for a one-month random checking campaign.

Early on Friday Nguyen Duy Truong was driving a pickup truck when he was stopped by officers near a Hanoi - Hai Phong Expressway toll booth. He had been driving in the correct lane and within speed limits.

As they pulled him over, they did not just check his papers but also tested for alcohol in his breath and for drugs from a urine sample.

Truong passed all the tests and was eventually allowed to go. "Checking randomly like this could help reduce traffic accidents, but it is quite inconvenient because I was in a hurry to carry out some business," he said.

For a month from Friday officers will patrol streets across the country 24/7 to check papers and drivers for driving under the influence.

Normally, the police can only stop a vehicle if the driver has flouted some regulation, but in this campaign they are pulling over vehicles randomly for checking.

Lieutenant General Vu Do Anh Dung, head of the Department of Traffic Police, said after the government eased social distancing requirements on April 23, traffic violations have increased, especially drunk drinking, resisting officers and illegal road racing.

"We have put our forces on the streets to bring back order."

Major Ngo Xuan Tung of the traffic police department said it takes 10-15 minutes to check the papers and the driver.

Tung led the team that checked Truong on the Hanoi-Hai Phong Expressway. On Friday morning a truck driver recorded 0.783 mg/liter on a breathalyzer. The highest level of fine is VND400,000-600,000 ($17-26) for of 0.4 mg/liter or more.

Also on Friday morning, a motorcyclist was fined VND250,000 ($11) for not wearing a helmet of proper quality in Thanh Xuan District in the capital.

Captain Nguyen Minh Duc said his team has made a list of areas where traffic accidents usually occur in Hanoi, mostly congested places with many pubs and beer clubs.

In the first three months of this year the country recorded more than 3,400 traffic accidents in which more than 1,600 people were killed and 2,500 others injured.

The number of accidents and fatalities were both 14 percent down year-on-year, according to the National Traffic Safety Committee.

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