Zero-alcohol requirement for drivers: Economic decline, people become “cash cows” for police

Statistics from the National Traffic Safety Committee show that in 2018, Vietnam had more than 18 thousand traffic accidents. Of these, up to 70% of traffic accidents are due to drivers drinking alcohol while participating in traffic, causing 8,125 deaths and 14,194 serious injuries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently said that when surveying more than 18 thousand traffic accident victims in Vietnam, up to 36.5% of motorbike drivers, and 66.8% of car drivers with a blood alcohol concentration exceeding the allowable limit. That is the reason why WHO ranks Vietnam second in the ASEAN’s region in terms of number of deaths due to traffic accidents.

The Vietnamese government has introduced a policy prohibiting drunk driving, which has received public approval, especially with the Traffic Police force’s drastic handling of drunk drivers. Thanks to that, the number of traffic accidents on the road has decreased significantly, as well as changing the habits of a part of the population who like to drink, which is something to be welcomed.

According to the current Road Traffic Law, 0% alcohol concentration is not absolutely prohibited when driving, but the alcohol concentration threshold for vehicle drivers, both cars and motorbikes, is above 50 milligrams/100 milliliters of blood, or over 0.25 milligrams/1 liter of breathing air.

However, recently, in the Bill on Road Traffic Safety and Order, drafted by the Ministry of Public Security, the ban on drinking alcohol while driving was once again included in the law. Specifically, in Clause 1, Article 8, the Draft Law stipulates that it is absolutely forbidden for vehicle drivers to participate in traffic with alcohol in their blood or breath. Regarding this new regulation, many National Assembly deputies as well as public opinion have mixed opinions.

It is known that in the world there are only about 20 countries (mostly Muslim) that have an alcohol concentration threshold of 0%, above this level you will be fined. Meanwhile, Western countries and the United States apply “green zones” with fines of 0.05% (50 milligrams/100 milliliters of blood) or more.

Setting the penalty threshold for violating alcohol concentration, at 0%, also leads to negative impacts on life, economy and society.

Specifically, increasing penalties for alcohol concentration has had a significant impact on the profits of manufacturing companies, as well as beer and wine businesses, in 2023.

According to VnExpress, in just the last two months of 2023, after Ho Chi Minh City Police launched the largest campaign ever to test alcohol levels for drivers, pubs became vacant because Traffic Police teams have been on duty at roads near bars, restaurants and pubs, it has caused people to give up their drinking habits.

Observers in Ho Chi Minh City commented that pubs in the Bau Cat area (Tan Binh district) and both sides of the Truong Sa-Hoang Sa road embankment, extending from Binh Thanh district to District 1, used to be often crowded with customers regardless of the time, but recently it has become empty. Many shop owners have had to close their doors and transfer premises due to business losses.

According to Tuoi Tre online newspaper, the 2023 financial report of Saigon-Hanoi Beer Joint Stock Company (BSH) shows that this business achieved revenue of more than VND609 billion, down 3% compared to 2022 and its  after-tax profit reduced by 25%, reaching only VND43.4 billion.

And Hanoi-Thanh Hoa Beer Company (THB) said that total consumption in the fourth quarter of 2023 alone decreased by 2.9 million liters over the same period. And the same thing happens to other beer and wine companies, such as Habeco, Sabeco and Hue Beer…

Through the research of the reporter, it is known that the source of the above situation comes from Decree 100 of the Government, issued in 2019 and the latest decree issued by the Ministry of Public Security at the end of 2023, on “Sanctions for administrative violations in the field of traffic.”

But most importantly, according to the resolution on Central Budget allocation passed by the National Assembly on the afternoon of November 10, 2023, the Ministry of Public Security is entitled to 85% of the revenue from fines for violations in the field of traffic safety, The remaining 15% is for localities to spend on other forces. That has stimulated the “excitement” of making money in the Traffic Police force, causing this force to be on the road 24/7 regardless of rain or shine.

Public opinion sees that the National Assembly allowing the Ministry of Public Security to enjoy up to 85% of the fine is the state’s encouragement of the traffic police to seel and impose fines, treating people as “cash cows.”

Although the policy of banning people with high alcohol levels from driving vehicles is reasonable, contributing to minimizing accidents, it should not be applied too rigidly as currently./.


Tra My –

Kasse animation 7.8.2023