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In Vietnam, traffic accidents kill more people than pandemic diseases

In Vietnam, traffic accidents kill more people than pandemic diseases
Motorbikes try to weave their way between the cars as they all fight for space on the road as heavy traffic clogs up a main street in downtown Hanoi. Photo by AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam

Traffic accidents remain the biggest single cause of fatalities in Vietnam even as the country has been working to make local roads safer.

Last year, road traffic deaths were 30 times higher than the number of people killed by pandemic diseases, Nguyen Thien Nhan, chairman of the Vietnam’s mass political organization Fatherland Front Central Committee, said at a conference Wednesday.

“Traffic-related accidents in every three years kill as many people as pandemic diseases do in 100 years,” said Nhan, as cited by local media.

According to the World Health Organization, on average, road traffic accidents kill approximately 14,000 people in Vietnam every year and are the leading cause of death among those aged between 15 and 29 years. Motorcyclists account for more than half of the fatalities.

Official statistics show that in the past five years, the death toll has decreased by 21 percent to about 48,000 and the number of injured people has shrunk by 22 percent to 162,000, compared to the previous five-year period.

Vietnam is trying to reduce road traffic fatalities to fewer than 20 per day, or 7,300 per year.

Traffic congestion, inadequate law enforcement, poor driving skills and bad street conditions are often cited as the main reasons for road crashes.