Circular 31: Milestone of change occurs in Vietnam with removal of fixed speed limits

October 15, 2019

Circular 31/2019 officially takes effect in Vietnam today, requiring that the “installation of speed signs must be based on the actual situation of the road sections and routes on traffic infrastructure, on the flow, types of vehicles and the time of day” (In Clause 1, Article 10).

Between 2014-2016, the Transport Development And Strategy Institute (TDSI) conducted a ministry-level study, researching the scientific basis for application of a “dynamic speed limit” to improve the efficiency of Vietnam’s national highway network usage. This research determined that the use of fixed speed limits in Vietnam has many shortcomings.

In April 2018, AIP Foundation, in collaboration with the National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC), Gia Lai Traffic Safety Committee, and the Gia Lai Department of Transportation, supported by the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP), implemented Slow Zones, Safe Zones, a two-year project that focuses on speed reduction and school zone safety in Pleiku. This project involved the installation of speed limit signs in school zones, adjusted according to time of day.

Mid-term speed results showed that the average speed of motorcycles around the pilot schools was reduced by 5 km/h; the average speed of cars was reduced by 11km/h; and large vehicles, such as buses, showed reductions of almost 20 km/h around the schools, further proving the effectiveness of dynamic speed limits. These results are likely to have influenced the government’s adoption of Circular 31/2019.

Slow Zones, Safe Zones, is one of three projects currently funded by Fondation Botnar, managed by GRSP, to improve road safety for children in Vietnam between 2018-2020.

Although Vietnam has not yet fully applied the concept of a “dynamic speed limit,” Circular 31/2019 is an initial step in moving away from a fixed speed limit, and an important milestone of change with respect to speed limit regulation in Vietnam.

To read more about the Circular 31/2019, please read the memo here.

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