Traffic accidents caused by potholes raise public concern

12:16 | 13/12/2018
A series of recent traffic accidents in central Vietnam have been blamed on potholes and road mismanagement recently, raising public concerns over traffic safety and the responsibility of agencies.
traffic accidents caused by potholes raise public concern
Potholes occur on the National Highway No1 passing through central Phu Yen Province on November 19. A series of traffic accidents have reported due to potholes. - VNA/VNS Photo Xuan Trieu

On Monday, Tran Nguyen Quang Tanh was driving his motorbike on the National Highway No1 in central Phu Yen Province’s Hoa Xuan Dong Commune when he hit a 30-cm deep pothole. He died at the scene.

On November 18, a truck hit a pothole on the same road and crashed into lane divider. Luckily, the driver escaped harm, but the cost of the damaged truck and cargo was nearly a billion dong.

On the same day, another truck hit three potholes on the road on the night and rolled over, causing the damage of VND100 million (US$4,300).

Tran Danh, father of Tanh, told Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper that if the potholes had been filled or there had been a warning sign, his son would not have died.

He said no representatives from Government agencies had come to ask him about the incident.

Another accident occurred in central Da Nang City on Monday Trương Vu Huy, was driving his wife, Tran Hue Tram, on his motorbike when he became entangled with an electric line and got electric shock. Huy died immediately.

At the scene, the police found a 20-metre-long electric line connected to the power station. The line was set across Yen The Road, creating a trap for those who were on the road.

Authorities’ reaction

Nguyen Thanh Tri, director of Phu Yen Province’s Transport Department said after being informed about the potholes, the department had checked the situation on National Highway No1 road through Phu Yen Province. It had asked Vietnam Directorate of Roads and Thang Long Project Management Board to direct relevant units to repair damage.

Trí said many potholes have reappeared shortly after being repaired as the road was submerged during heavy rainfall.

He said the potholes that led to accidents were the responsibility of Thang Long Project Management Board.

In the meanwhile, Nguyen Hoang Khanh, specialist of Thang Long Project Management Board said the road was under management of the Civil Engineering Construction Corporation No4’s 475 JSC.

He said the management board had sent more than 15 documents asking the contractor of the road to repair the potholes since July. However, the contractor was slow to do the job, forcing the management board to appoint Phu Yen Road Repair Company to fix the potholes.

The contractor was responsible for repair work within 21 days of any damages being found. If the contractor failed to do it, the management board would hire another unit to complete the task with the payment taken from the road maintenance fund.

Khánh admitted warning signs were only installed in areas under maintenance instead of all potholes along the road.

Colonel Nguyen Quang Pho, head of Đông Hoà District’s Police Sub-department said the police had begun investigating the accident.

In terms of the fatal accident caused by the electricity line, Chairman of Da Nang City’s People’s Committee Huynh Duc Tho has asked the management boards of infrastructure projects to explain the cause of the incident to the committee.

Dang Quoc Thang, head of Lighting Management Team No3 under the city’s Public Lighting Operation and Management Company said a construction company had asked the firm to connect its power source for its lighting, but did not remove the line after completing its work.

Legal proceedings

According to lawyers, it is possible to take legal proceedings over road management units or contractors for failing to ensure public safety.

Nguyen Duc Chanh, lawyer from HCM City’s Lawyers Association said if the cause of deaths was due to potholes, the responsibility of the road management and maintenance units must be clarified.

If the potholes were caused by the weaknesses or irresponsibility of these units, they would be responsible for failing to conform to regulations on maintenance and management, leading to technical safety failure, or failing to devise solutions for damaged traffic works, resulting in fatalities.

If traffic users suffered from 61 per cent of body’s injuries or between VND100-500 million ($4,300-21,500) of property damage, these units would take legal proceedings with penalties ranging between six months to three years in jail.

Nguyen Thi Minh Trang, another member of the HCM City’s Lawyers Association said relatives of the victims could ask such units to pay compensation according to Article 591 of the Civil Code 2015.


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