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Uptick in road crashes in Laos, speeding and drink driving major causes in Vientiane




Vientiane, Laos | Stock photo by Alessio Roversi for Unsplash

A recent survey focused on Laos’ increase in traffic crashes found that over three-quarters of drivers in the capital Vientiane are habitually breaching speed limits and about a third of individuals driving in the evening have consumed alcohol. The country’s Department of Transport lead the surveys, with technical and financial support from the World Bank. Researchers also documented accounts from survivors of traffic crashes.

Research found that over a thousand people are killed on Laos’ roads each year, with many more suffering bodily injuries and trauma as a result of crashes, making it a total of over a thousand yearly crashes climbed by 35% between 2010 and 2020, while fatalities soared by 67%. Surveys also show that many motorcyclists do not wear helmets, and many drivers take risks.

From the intersections in the capital selected for the survey, 73% of drivers were speeding. Younger drivers being the most likely to be driving over the speed limit and one out of every three drivers consumed alcohol, with the majority above the legal limit for driving, according to the survey.

The number of accidents and fatalities is expected to rise and the government is currently going through its Road Safety Action Plan, which is currently being reviewed.

World Bank Country Manager for Laos, Alex Kremer, says “road safety is a major public health concern, just like dengue fever and malaria.”

“Hard data on driving behavior and accidents confirm the devastating personal experiences of thousands of individuals, and clearly, making the roads safe will need leadership, commitment, time, and consistent work.”

The Traffic Police Department said, despite numerous provinces being under lockdown due to Covid-19 restrictions, road accidents and deaths have continued to rise in recent months.

SOURCE: The Star


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