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Official Gazette

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Unsnarling the traffic mess

Updated: 15:50’ - 14/06/2011

On July 1, 2009, the 2008 Law on Roadway Traffic (the Law) will come into force and replace the 2001 Traffic Law, retaining only three articles, revising 68 articles and adding 18 new ones.

The Law governs not only road traffic safety but also transportation management, road vehicles, operators of road vehicles, and construction, operation and protection of traffic infrastructure works. It also clarifies and adds a number of road traffic principles to regulate road traffic and transportation activities in a comprehensive manner.

The Law creates a legal corridor for road traffic development, facilitating Vietnam’s participation in regional traffic and transportation activities.

To satisfy long-term development requirements of urban traffic and narrow the gap with regional countries, the Law requires that the proportion of land for urban traffic to urban construction land must be between 16% and 26%.

The Law has a new article, Article 6, on road traffic and transportation development planning, laying down principles for the identification of types, objectives, bases and order of planning. Responsibilities of state administration agencies involved in planning work are also defined in the Law.

The Law empowers the Ministry of Transport to classify and adjust the national highway system and People’s Committees to do so with local roads.

With a clear definition of maintenance of roads, the Law prescribes the formation of the road maintenance fund with sources from the state budget, road use-related revenues and other revenues for the management and maintenance of national highways and local roads. This is a legal ground for mobilizing resources for road maintenance, helping save costs for the construction of new roads.

The Law additionally stipulates that the construction of road works must satisfy technical standards and traffic safety conditions for pedestrians and people with disabilities and comply with regulations on connection and construction of collector roads to assure traffic safety for the national highway system. It also strictly prescribes the use and management of road sign works.

Regarding the construction and operation of road traffic works, the Law holds builders of works on roads responsible for serious traffic accidents and environmental pollution.

To promote tourist development and realize Vietnam’s WTO commitments and other agreements which the country has signed, the Law permits right-handed steering wheel cars registered overseas to join in traffic in Vietnam. The Government is assigned to detail cases in which these cars are permitted to run on Vietnamese roads. This aims to facilitate clearance of procedures to permit foreign right-handed steering-wheel tourist cars to enter Vietnam. Under the 2001 Law, the National Assembly Standing Committee, but not the Government, is vested with this power, resulting in time-consuming licensing procedures.

Tightening traffic safety

The Law makes stricter provisions on the use of alcoholic drinks by operators of vehicles. It prohibits drivers of cars, tractors or special-use motor vehicles on roads from drinking alcohol. For drivers of motorcycles or mopeds, the alcoholic strength is restricted at 50 mg/100 ml of blood or 0.25 mg per liter of breath air, lower than that specified in the 2001 Law.

Some road traffic rules are added in the Law to suit the social development situation and assure traffic safety. Pedestrians, rudimentary vehicles, mopeds, motorcycles, tractors, and special-use motor vehicles with a designed speed of below 70 km/h are banned from using motorways. The Law stipulates that the operator of a motorcycle or moped may carry one person and an under-14 year child, while the rider of a bicycle may carry two persons including an under-7 child. This was not provided in the 2001 Law.

Under the Law, not only operators and passengers of motorcycles, three-wheeled motor vehicles and mopeds must wear safety helmets, properly fastening their chin straps, but riders and passengers of motor bicycles as well.

The minimum age of drivers of passenger cars of 10-30 seats is raised from 21 years (under the 2001 Law) to 24 years; and that of drivers of passenger cars of over 30 seats, from 25 to 27 years. Drivers of trucks pulling semi-trailers may be granted category-FC (24 years) driver licenses instead of category-C (21 years) ones.

To enhance the control of road users, the Law requires the driver, when operating a vehicle, to carry the vehicle registration paper, driver license (for drivers of cars and motorcycles), technical safety and environmental protection inspection certificate (for drivers of cars), and motor vehicle owner’s civil liability insurance certificate. The operator of a special-use motor vehicle is obliged to carry the vehicle registration paper, certificate of legal knowledge about road traffic, diploma or certificate for the operation of special-use motor vehicles, and technical safety and environmental protection inspection certificate.

Compared to the 2001 Law, the Law distinguishes road transportation activities from road transportation support services with a view to facilitating state administration of these two types of service. On the basis of codifying existing sub-law documents, the Law provides one of stringent conditions on commercial transportation by car: vehicles for commercial transportation must be installed with devices for supervising their itineraries, aiming to raise the quality of commercial transportation, especially mass transit, assure traffic safety and protect customer interests. The Government will specify the scope, entities and roadmaps for implementation of this provision.

The Law not only defines rights and obligations of entities involved in road transportation activities (such as transportation dealers, drivers and attendants working on passenger cars, passengers, transportation charterers and cargo consignees) but also determines transportation dealers’ responsibility for consequences caused by their employees or representatives.

As many as nine decrees, 34 circulars, six national technical regulations and six documents of provincial-level People’s Committees would be issued soon to enforce the Law.-


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