Drink-drivers make VN roads a death trap

Published: 05/06/2011 05:00



VietNamNet Bridge - “He often told me how a little amount of beer couldn’t harm a strong man like himself,” said a crying Nguyen Thi Hong An, adding, “now it does,” pointing at a man lying unconscious on the bed.

The man was her 28-year-old husband, now in Saint Paul Hospital after crashing into a parked car following a couple of beers with his friends over lunch.

An said that she shouted at her husband’s friends when they came to see him at the hospital.

“They ask him for a drink whenever they meet. They act as if they did not have anything else to do but drink,” she said.

The 25-year-old wife was worried about who would cover her husband’s hospital fee and take care of her 2-year-old daughter.

Fifty-three-year-old Kim Thi Gam, who had been hit by a drunk driver while ascending a bus on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street was also in the same hospital.

Gam, fine following treatment, was concerned about what to do regarding compensation from the driver who had been severely injured and taken to the Viet Duc Hospital.

“Lacking health insurance, I have to pay nearly VND10 million ($500) for my hospital treatment. I hope that the man will be able to recover and reimburse me the money. This should be a lesson to him regarding drunk driving,” Gam said.

A recent survey on drunk driving, carried out by the Population and Social Issues Research Institute, found that 62 per cent of traffic accident victims taken up in Viet Duc and Saint Paul hospitals, two of Ha Noi’s largest, had been found with alcohol in their blood.

More than half of the victims had suffered eminence trauma and injury following their accidents.

Eight-hundred-and-fifty-four people died and 776 were injured in more than 1,000 traffic accidents throughout the country in the first four months of 2011, according to the General Statistics Office. The office also calculated that in one day, there were 38 accidents, killing 32 and injuring 29 people.

Tran Van Chanh, a nurse at the Viet Duc Hospital, said that more than half of traffic accidents in the last 10 years were related to alcohol abuse amongst drivers.

The hospital recently calculated that 1,375 out of 3,239 cases contained alcohol in their blood.

According to the World Health Organisation, drunk driving is one of the main causes of road accidents worldwide. In high-income countries, around 20 per cent of fatally injured drivers contain excess alcohol in their blood, while in some low – and middle-income countries these figures may reach 69 per cent.

Chief Executive David Silcock said that, “drink driving is one of the major causes of road accidents where innocent victims, and not the drunk drivers, are killed or maimed. We plan to work closely with our partners around the world in order to apply good practice and urge all committed to road safety to take a long hard look at the issue in their own countries.”

Vu Thi Minh Hanh, institute deputy director, said that, while the legal limit pertaining to alcohol use was mentioned in 35 legal documents, the implementation of laws regarding alcohol use was weak.

People often praise and encourage good drinkers in Viet Nam’s strong drinking culture.

While Hanh and her colleagues have been struggling to draft a national policy on alcohol abuse, it was reported that, during the first four months of this year, 350 local enterprises had produced 714.6 million litres if beer, an increase of 9.2 per cent compared to the same term last year.

The Sai Gon Beer Company announced that it sold 1.008 billion litres of beer last year and would produce 1.3 billion litres in 2011 while Heineken ranked Viet Nam as its 3rd largest market (producing 200 million litres of beer in 2010) following the US and France.

Gam said that, “instead of advertising beer and wine, images of traffic accidents caused by drinking should be screened on television.”

She added that she would try her best in keeping her husband from driving after he had a couple of drinks.

“I won’t be silent about his drinking habits anymore. If I do not say anything, he will take it as compliance. That’s not going to happen.”

Source: VNS

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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