February 20, 2020
20 February, 2020 – Stockholm, Sweden
At the 3rd Global Ministerial Conference for a session on addressing implementation gaps in road safety, panelist Dr. Khuat Viet Hung, Executive Vice Chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee of Vietnam, shed light on the progress that Vietnam has made on drunk driving through comprehensive traffic legislation and enforcement.
According to the National Traffic Safety Committee in Vietnam, in the first two months of 2020, Vietnam recorded 2,300 road crashes nationwide, with 1,125 deaths and 1,780 injuries. The numbers demonstrate a 16% decrease in overall road crashes, 18% decrease in road crash injuries, and 17% decrease in road crash fatalities from the same period last year.
The government largely attributes the recent progress to its recent enactment and enforcement of the Law on Preventing Alcohol’s Harmful Effects, which came into effect on January 1, 2020. The new law establishes a blanket ban on driving after drinking for users of all vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, and bicycles, and issues higher fines and license suspensions.
The National Assembly of Vietnam had earlier passed the landmark bill in June 2019 with the approval of 408 of 450 delegates, demonstrating a shift in the government’s stance towards drunk driving nationwide. According to Vietnam’s National Traffic Safety Committee, road crashes were the cause of more than 8,200 fatalities in 2018. Common causes of road crashes in Vietnam were identified as speeding, driving in the wrong lane, making changes in direction while failing to observe traffic, and drunk driving.
Dr. Hung joined the panel with representatives of international organization, academia, and national-level transport and traffic authorities, including moderator Mr. Meleckidzedeck Khayesi, Technical Officer, World Health Organization; Mr. Fred Wegman, Professor Emeritus, Traffic Safety, Delft University of Technology; Ms. Kirstie Hewlett, Deputy Chief Executive, Ministry of Transport of New Zealand; and Ms. Susanna Zammataro, Director-General of the International Road Federation.
The panelists discussed challenges and strategies for overcoming implementation failure in road safety, emphasizing the importance of viewing policy implementation as a rigorous science, requiring the training and education of road safety practitioners across sectors.