Police authorities have asked foreign visitors to learn the traffic regulations in Laos before driving here in order to avoid road accidents.
The road accidents information sector from Vientiane Police Office reported on Tuesday that the number of road accidents in Vientiane involving foreigners is still low but stressed that they require foreign visitors to learn the Lao traffic regulations before driving here. Head of the sector Major Sangkhom Yommalath told Vientiane Times that the number of foreigners involved in accidents in Vientiane is low, with only 176 road accidents involving a person or persons of non-Lao origin, or about 11.9 percent of the total number of road accidents in Vientiane.
Those figures apply to the period from September 2013 to September 2014, Major Sangkhom said.
“It is still a low number but looking at the reality on the streets every day and you can see that there are several foreigners riding bicycles, motorcycles or even cars breaking the traffic regulations. If it stays like this the number involved in accidents will go up rapidly in the future,” he explained.
Vientiane Times went to interview the owners of a motorcycle rental shop and found that most foreign tourists rent either bicycles or motorcycles to ride in Vientiane and neighbouring provinces.
The shop owners request driving licences but so many tourists have only country specific licences and not international driving licences but the shop still allows customers to rent the vehicles due to business considerations.
Major Sangkhom said that honestly all foreigners should have international driving licences before driving in Laos as Lao people driving in neighbouring countries are also required to have the correct documents.
“About 1,472 road accidents occurred in Vientiane from September 2013 to September 2014, killing 175 people along with over 2,000 injuries whilst damages reached 15 billion kip.
“It is still not serious yet for the foreigners but they should at least know what direction the roads travel in Vientiane before driving because this will help prevent them from becoming involved in road accidents,” he explained.
Major Sangkhom added that at the end of this year, Laos will become part of the Asean Economic Community or AEC and there will be many drivers from neighbouring countries driving in Laos, particularly in the capital, so traffic police will need to enforce the regulations more strictly in this regard.
At the same time, foreign drivers also need to cooperate with Lao officials to learn the local traffic regulations as well as the directions of travel on each road before driving here.
“This is not for the officials; this is for drivers themselves and other people in the traffic in Vientiane,” Major Sangkhom said.
Source: Vientiane Times