AusAID helps to improve road safety in Vietnam
Canberra, Australia – Australia has agreed to fund a pilot program to help curb a sharp rise in road deaths in Vietnam.
The Vietnamese Government has sought international help to reduce the suffering and high cost of road accidents.
In 2001 there was a 29 per cent increase in the number of motorcycles but a 37 per cent rise in road deaths.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Greg Hunt said the pilot program would identify high risk roads and affordable engineering projects to improve safety.
‘Vietnamese officials will also be trained in road safety assessment and methods to improve public awareness of road safety,’ Mr Hunt said.
‘Australia’s assistance in Vietnam follows support for an earlier road safety program that encouraged bicycle and motorcycle riders to wear safety helmets.
‘To enable this new program, Australia will provide $500,000 to the World Bank’s Global Road Safety Facility which seeks to boost road safety initiatives in low and middle income countries.
‘The funding for the Vietnamese pilot program is part of a $1 million package over four years to help improve road safety and awareness in our region.’
Mr Hunt said 44 per cent of road deaths worldwide occurred in the Asia Pacific, although it is home to just 16 per cent of the world’s motorised vehicle fleet.
‘The combination of traffic, dense populations and high pedestrian numbers is a significant obstacle to improving road safety,’ he said.
‘The World Health Organisation estimates that in 2002 almost 1.2 million people died in road crashes worldwide and as many as 50 million were injured. Unless action is taken, global road deaths are forecast to double by 2020.
‘More than 85 per cent of road traffic deaths and injuries occur in developing countries and impose huge economic costs, estimated at between $80 billion and $120 billion annually.’