Thursday , February 22 2024

Call for stricter penalties for drink driving

A driver in Phú Yên being tested for alcohol levels. VNA/VNS Photo Xuân Triệu

HÀ NỘI The Traffic Police Department (Ministry of Public Security) and the Department of Examination and Treatment Management (Ministry of Health) organised a seminar yesterday, titled “The impact of alcohol and beer on road traffic participants.”

Lieutenant General Nguyễn Văn Minh, Deputy Director of the Traffic Police Department, highlighted the serious harm caused by alcohol consumption, impacting various areas such as the economy, health, education and traffic. The implementation of the Law on Prevention and Control of the Harmful Effects of Alcohol and Beer, particularly through Decree 100/2020/ND-CP, has yielded positive results in enhancing road safety. However, challenges persist, with a portion of road users still violating alcohol concentration regulations, leading to accidents and resistance against law enforcement.

Major General Nguyễn Quang Nhật, Head of the Propaganda, Investigation and Settlement of Traffic Accidents Department, provided statistics indicating that Việt Nam ranks high globally in alcohol consumption. Despite efforts to enforce regulations, there is still a lack of awareness about the harm of alcohol abuse, especially in rural areas. Alcohol-related issues contribute to economic burdens, social disorders, and serious consequences for individuals and society.

Notably, in 2023, the national traffic police force handled 770,679 cases of people driving under the influence of alcohol. Economic costs associated with beer consumption in Việt Nam were nearly US$3.4 billion, equivalent to three per cent of the total national budget revenue. Social surveys reveal that over half of prisoners had consumed alcohol or beer before committing crimes, and from June 2022 to December 2023, alcohol-related road traffic accidents caused 3,427 deaths and injured 4,327 people.

The seminar participants proposed solutions, including improvements to the legal system and policies, completion of the draft Law on Road Traffic Safety, and increased penalties for alcohol concentration violations while driving. Suggestions included setting blood alcohol concentration limits, restricting driver’s license issuance, implementing breath tests, managing violators and installing alcohol concentration control devices in vehicles.

Additionally, proposals involved deducting driving points, imposing progressive fines, requiring re-education, and re-examining driving licenses, among other measures. Agencies were urged to provide guidance for specific provisions in the Penal Code and consider prosecuting criminal responsibility for severe alcohol concentration violations. Administrative fines were recommended to increase based on the degree of seriousness of violation. VNS

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