New decree proposes stricter traffic fines across the board

August 21, 2009
Traffic police officers issues fines to motorcyclists in Ho Chi Minh City.

A draft decree has proposed stricter fines for speeding, overloading vehicles, not having a driving license, driving on sidewalks and disobeying traffic police and road signs.

The decree submitted to the prime minister Thursday would also fine motorbike drivers carrying children over six years old without crash helmets between VND100,000 (US$5.6) and VND200,000 ($11.22), said Nguyen Van Thuan, head of the Ministry of Transport’s Traffic Safety Department.

According to the draft prepared by a committee headed by the ministry, any amount of alcohol found in the blood or breath would be illegal for all drivers of cars and trucks, while the limit would be a BAC (blood alcohol content) of 50 milligrams/100 milliliters of blood or BrAC (Breath Alcohol Content) of 0.25 milligrams per liter for motorbikers.

The draft decree proposed different fines for automobile drivers depending on the concentration of alcohol found in their breath or blood, with highest fine of VND6 million against violators with BrAC of 0.4 miligrams per liter or BAC of 80 milligrams/100 milliliters of blood.

Earlier, a BAC limit of 80 milligrams/100 milliliters and BrAC limit of 40 milligrams per one liter was applied for all drivers. Fines against violations of that limit were between VND1 million and VND3 million ($168.44).

The new decree would also place stricter fines on motorbike drivers who violate the alcohol law.

Fines of between VND200,000 and VND400,000 would be issued against those driving with a BrAC of 0.25-0.4 milligrams per liter or a BAC of 50-80 milligrams/100 milliliters. Those driving motorbikes with higher BrAC/BAC would face fines between VND500,000-VND1 million.

The draft decree also proposed fines between VND2 million-VND3 million for automobile drivers caught speeding by 20-30 kph. The fines would be lower for smaller violations.

The same fines of between VND200,000 and VND400,000 were proposed against motorbikes speeding by more than 20 kph or carrying more than two people.

Motorbike riders using cell phone or umbrellas would be fined between VND40,000-VND60,000, while cars driving in wrong direction could be fined up to VND1.2 million.

Controversial proposal

The Ministry of Transport also included a clause that could make traffic fines higher in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City than in the rest of the country, despite strong opposition from judicial experts.

The ministry said the country’s two largest cities should have stricter fines to deter violations because the cities had more traffic accidents than other areas.

Last week, the Ministry of Justice said in a note sent to the Government Office and the Ministry of Transport that the proposal would violate the constitution, which states that every citizen is equal under the law.

Such equality meant that laws must be applied the same nationwide, said the Ministry of Justice in the note.

The ministry also said that many residents traveling through Hanoi and HCMC were low-income earners, some living below the poverty line. Vietnam’s official poverty line for the 2006-2010 period was an average monthly income of less than VND200,000 (US$11.10) per person in rural areas and below VND260,000 ($14.40) per person in urban areas.

Reported by Xuan Toan

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