|A law, which is set to take effect early next year, bans driving under the influence, with any level of breath or blood alcohol concentration – Photo: Thanh Hoa
The 36-article law, which was adopted by the National Assembly (NA) in June this year, provides a variety of measures for reducing liquor and beer consumption as well as the harm resulting from substance abuse.
Prevailing regulations are lenient toward motorcyclists, allowing for a certain level of alcohol, at 50 milligrams per 100 millimeters of blood, or 0.25 milligrams of alcohol in one liter of breath, though automobile drivers must have no alcohol in their blood or breath.
The new law shows zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol, with one regulation placing an outright ban on operating vehicles while their breath or blood shows any level of alcohol concentration.
Earlier, Nguyen Thuy Anh, head of the NA Committee for Social Affairs, said that the number of severe traffic accidents caused by drunk drivers had increased, so the drink driving ban was a must.
The ban is meant to cope with rising traffic accidents, she added.
The law also prohibits the advertisement of alcoholic products on television from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., 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 advertisement of products with an alcohol volume of over 15% is disallowed as well.
Meanwhile, the restriction on the sale of alcoholic products for on-site drinking from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. has yet to be added to the law.
Liquors 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 liquors and beer of unclear origin will be confiscated and disposed of in accordance with law.
The Vietnamese people 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 per year, according to data collected by the Ministry of Health.
Vietnam is the largest consumer of alcohol in Southeast Asia and the third largest beer-consuming country in Asia, just behind Japan and China. In 2017, the cost of beer consumption in Vietnam was nearly US$4 billion.
The total medical treatment cost for six kinds of cancer caused by alcoholic drinks is estimated at nearly VND26 trillion (US$1.1 billion), accounting for 0.5% of the nation’s total gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017.
Meanwhile, the cost of handling the consequences of traffic accidents involving driving under the influence made up 1% of the GDP last year, or some VND50 trillion.