Viet Nam reports reduced road traffic deaths

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Road accident-related deaths in Viet Nam has been decreasing over the recent years, the National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC) confirmed in the Global status report on road safety 2018 released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 7 December 2018. For six consecutive years since 2012, the reported annual number of road accident fatalities in the country has been reduced, and has stayed at below 10 000 every year, compared with around 12 000 prior to 2012.

Viet Nam's policies require helmet use among children traveling with adults in motorcycles
Photo: WHO\Yoshi Shimizu

The decreasing trend on road accident-related deaths is attributed to Viet Nam’s strong leadership on strengthening mechanisms to ensure road safety. Included are the development and implementation of a legislative framework that addresses, among others, two of the major risk factors for road traffic injuries: non-use of helmet and driving under the influence of alcohol. The issuance of the National plan for awareness raising and enforcement of drink-driving law, 2015 – 2020 in December 2015 – which outlined specific actions to curb the problem of drink-driving in the country – further demonstrated the government’s long-term commitment in effectively managing road safety.

WHO estimates, however, note that road traffic-related deaths in Viet Nam remain relatively high. A number of challenges still need to be addressed, including the further bolstering of the road safety legislative system to address risk factors, such as speeding, use of mobile phones while driving, and non-use of seatbelts. At the same time, measures to standardize helmet quality should be enforced, and policies requiring helmet use among children traveling with adults in motorcycles should be strictly implemented. WHO Viet Nam has supported the development of key policies addressing risk factors, such as non-use of helmets among children in 2010, as well as drink-driving policy enforcement in 2014.

The Global status report on road safety 2018 highlights the unacceptably high global figures on road safety-related fatalities, at 1.35 million in 2016. Each day, nearly 3700 people die on the road. Injuries sustained from road accidents are the 8th leading cause of deaths worldwide. It is the leading cause of death among children and young adults (5 – 29 years).

Between 2013 and 2016, no reductions in the number of road traffic-related deaths were observed in any low-income country, while some reductions were observed in 48 middle- and high-income countries. Fatalities increased in 104 countries during this period. More scaled-up efforts are recommended to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3, Target 3.6: By 2020, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents. Focus should be put on the implementation of all five pillars of road safety: (1) developing and implementing road safety policies; (2) building safe transport infrastructure; (3) ensuring vehicles meeting standards; (4) educating road users to obey traffic rules; and (5) building and operating an effective first response system to support traffic victims.