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Ban on drink driving to take effect on January 1

Released at: 15:12, 27/12/2019

Ban on drink driving to take effect on January 1

Photo: Viet Tuan

Ban aims to reduce rising number of traffic accidents caused by alcohol consumption.

by Le Diem

The Law on Preventing and Combating the Harmful Effects of Liquor and Beer will take effect on January 1, imposing a blanket ban on drink driving.

Motorcyclists are allowed a certain level of alcohol, of 50 milligrams per 100 millimeters of blood, or 0.25 milligrams of alcohol in one liter of breath, while motor car drivers must have no alcohol in their blood or breath. Violations are subject to fines of between VND1 million ($39) and VND3 million ($117).

The ban shows zero tolerance for driving motor cars under the influence of alcohol, with one regulation placing an outright ban on operating vehicles while the driver’s breath or blood shows any level of alcohol concentration. In the context of the number of severe traffic accidents caused by drunk drivers increasing, the ban is a necessary solution, according to the National Assembly Committee for Social Affairs.

The law also prohibits the advertising of alcoholic products on TV from 6pm to 9pm, except for products advertised as part of live sports broadcasts relayed from overseas. Alcoholic products cannot be sold to anyone aged under 18. In addition, alcohol advertisements in the media for people aged under 18 and the use of images, characters and film music to advertise alcoholic products are prohibited. The advertising of products with an alcohol volume of over 15 per cent is also not allowed.

Meanwhile, restrictions on the sale of alcoholic products for on-site drinking from 10pm to 8am have yet to be added to the law. Liquor and beer traded and circulated in Vietnam must conform to standards and technical regulations and satisfy the prescribed product and goods quality requirements as well as food safety conditions. Counterfeit liquor and beer products failing to ensure food quality and safety and smuggled liquor and beer of unclear origin will be confiscated and disposed of in accordance with the law.

Vietnam is the largest consumer of alcohol in Southeast Asia and the third-largest beer-consuming country in Asia, just behind Japan and China. Vietnamese consumed some 305 million liters of liquor and nearly 4.1 billion liters of beer, equivalent to 72 million and 161 million liters of alcohol, respectively, in 2017. Thus, on average, each Vietnamese drinks some 42 liters of beer a year, according to data collected by the Ministry of Health.

The total medical treatment cost for cancers caused by alcohol is estimated at nearly VND26 trillion ($1.1 billion), accounting for 0.5 per cent of the country’s total GDP in 2017. Meanwhile, the cost of handling the consequences of traffic accidents involving driving under the influence accounted for 1 per cent of GDP last year, or some VND50 trillion (nearly $2.2 billion).

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