Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc recently issued an instruction to enhance traffic safety measures.
The PM called for stronger enforcement of existing regulations that require all automobiles to have seatbelts and the belts be worn by all passengers.
Government Decree 46/2016 made wearing seatbelts mandatory for passengers in the backseats of cars from August 2016.
Violators can be fined VND100,000-200,000 (US$4-8). The old regulation only required the driver and the front-seat passenger to wear seatbelts.
However, regulations on seatbelts have been neglected by both drivers and passengers.
The main reason was a lack of safety awareness, while many people said they felt uncomfortable when wearing belts.
According to Dr Xuan Thuy, a traffic expert, wearing seatbelts in cars must be compulsory.
“Wearing seatbelts in cars is the same as using helmets on motorbikes. This is a life protection measure”, Thuy told Kinh Te & Do Thi (Economic and Urban Affairs) newspaper.
“However, the regulation was not properly disseminated so people have been ignoring it”, he said.
The expert said that state of traffic in Vietnam has considerably changed in recent years.
Development of transport infrastructure has helped cars move faster, leading to a higher risk of casualties in traffic accidents.
Thus, measures protecting road users must be urgently and seriously implemented, he said.
“At present, Vietnam has 700-800km of highways. The permitted car speeds are high. So regulations on wearing seatbelts in cars are necessary”, Thuy said.
Many experts said that the issue needed close monitoring by authorities and strict sanctions for violators.
According to the World Health Organisation, seatbelts help reduce 45-50% of deaths and 20-45% of serious injuries for people seating in front seats, and 25-75% of deaths and injuries for passengers in backseats in an accident.