Better Management Desperately Needed
By Thai Thanh
The current practice of transport means registration must be changed so that the authorities can effectively handle traffic violations and improve traffic flow in Vietnam
|A camera was installed here to take photos of traffic violators. It not worked that way, however|
The video clip showing a traffic police officer clinging bravely to the windshield wipers of a runway coach so as to stop the violating driver unexpectedly attracted the interest of both local and international press (see vnexpress.net page below).
In many countries, information technology has been applied to manage efficiently transport means rolling on the streets. In Vietnam, which has boasted a high national rate of Internet users, the detection of traffic violations remains mostly “manual.” In other words, only violators caught red-handed on the streets can be punished.
Therefore, without a breakthrough in this regard, many traffic police officers will have to risk their life and limb to bring lawbreakers to justice just like their comrade did in the above story.
Fines based on video tapes filming traffic violations have been popular around the world. In Vietnam, HCMC was the first to pilot this mode of violation detection some time ago. Traffic violators were requested to come over the municipal treasury to pay for the fines after receiving a notice. Late payments would result in heavier fines and even criminal prosecution.
However, difficulties endemic in Vietnam soon failed the initiative in HCMC, for instance, the bad habit of selling or buying transport means, particularly motorbikes, without conducting legal procedures.
This failure has prompted some to raised questions about how effective the authorities’ current management of transport means is. In fact, Vietnamese have to pay high registration fees compared with citizens in the neighboring countries. Yet many traffic police officers on duty in Vietnam have had to opt for dangerous ways to stop violating vehicles.
The overwhelming majority of Vietnamese want to legalize their transactions of motorbikes. However, cumbersome formalities and high registration fees have discouraged many of them. In several countries, extremely heavy fines are imposed on transport means transacted without legal registration, but no registration fees are collected.
If the current mindset of transport means management is not changed appropriately, big cities in Vietnam—Hanoi in particular—is destined to face more tremendous difficulties. After the expansion, the current Hanoi—ranked 18th in the world in terms of area—has some 350,000 cars, way below, say, Indonesia’s Jakarta with 8 million, or China’s Beijing with 7 million. Yet traffic jams in the capital have getting already worse and worse.
Some have opined that the authorities should step by step enforce the management by realizing a three- to five-year road map. In line with it, all owners of transport means are compelled to conduct legal registration for their transacted cars or motorbikes. At the same time, registration fees must be at reasonable levels. After that duration, the authorities in charge will be able to detect without much effort owners violating traffic rules to impose fines.
That way, traffic police officers on duty in the streets will no longer have to resort to dangerous ways to stop defiant violators as they sometimes have to currently.