Debates over daytime running light returns
The proposal to adopt a law on daytime vehicle running lights in Vietnam has been raised again and still faced opposition.
In 2015, the National Traffic Safety Committee suggested it should be mandatory for motorbikes to have headlights permanently on, even during daylight hours to reduce the number of traffic accidents and possibly save up to 600 lives a year.
However, Bui Danh Lien, chairman of Hanoi Automobile Association said the plan was not suitable for Vietnam's weather and situation. Colonel Nguyen Duy Dong, deputy head of Nghe An Province's traffic police, said in the summer, riders may be blinded by the light and more accidents could occur.
Recently, the proposal was raised again. According to the Ministry of Transport, the laws are based on the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic to make on-road vehicles easier to see. Hoang The Tung, deputy head of the Traffic Safety Department said Vietnam had joined the convention since 2014 and should follow the regulations.
"If a vehicle doesn't have a daytime running lights, the driver can use the low beam light. But nowadays, most vehicles have daytime running lights," he said. "We'll gather public opinion until the end of May before reviewing and submitting the proposal to the National Assembly."
Tran Huu Minh, Deputy Chief Officer National Traffic Safety Committee of Vietnam, said only Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia haven't enforced daytime running light law in ASEAN. Other ASEAN countries like Malaysia enforced the law since 1992, Singapore and Thailand enforced the law since 1995 and 2005 respectively.
Daytime running lights were introduced in the 70s in European and North American countries.
Nguyen Van Quyen, chairman of Vietnam Automobile Transport Association, said the daytime running lamps were more suitable to Western countries than Vietnam.
"It still consumes the battery anyway and contributes to the cost and air pollution. It can even cause blinding and accidents instead," he said.
According to Vietnamnet, 80% of the comments from online forums opposed the daytime running light lamps. There are opinions that the summer in Vietnam is really hot and the lights will make travelling worse. However, others said 20% of traffic accidents in the EU were prevented thanks to daylight running light. Moreover, drivers in Thailand or Malaysia fully support the law because they can see other drivers from far away.
"Many people think they will have to pay more for fuel or battery but in fact, the consumption rate from daylight running lamps is extremely low," said Nguyen Minh Dong.
Lawyer Duong Duc Thang from Hanoi Bar Association said the authorities should consider the law carefully since 60-70% of the population would be affected.
"Once the law is enforced, everyone must follow and the authorities can punish violators. If the law is enforced without careful preparation or if there is a lack of promotion programme, it may face public opposition," he said. Dtinews/VietNamNet
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