Lao Police Determined To Crackdown On Hit-and-Run Drivers

Source: Vientiane Times

Following a spate of accidents last year involving hit-and-run drivers which caused loss of life and disabling injuries to victims, traffic police are determined to stamp out the disturbing trend.

According to Vientiane Traffic Police Department there were 26 reported hit-and-run cases in the capital last year and police made 15 arrests.

These resulted in 19 fatalities, with 15 people sustaining injuries and a damage bill of about 450 million kip.

Police said many hit-and-run accidents take place in rural areas at night when drivers responsible think they can escape unseen. The main causes are high speed driving and intoxication.

A fatal hit-and-run accident recently occurred in Xaysavang village, Xaythany district, Vientiane when a car crashed into the rear of a motorbike killing the motorcyclist and causing him to be dragged more than 50 metres along the road. The bike rider was named as Mr Thongsavanh, 48, of Donedaeng village, Chanthabouly district.

Just two days later, police arrested the driver of the suspected car who was identified as a Vietnamese national. However, police noted it was the capital’s first hit-and-run case of the year.

Vientiane Police Office Deputy Chief and Director of the Vientiane Traffic Police Department, Lieutenant Colonel Youttaphong Souvannasing said “The issue of hit-and-run accidents is implemented according to the law”.

According to Article 87 of the Criminal Law, anyone who is involved in a traffic accident and flees the scene is subject to a prison sentence of six months to two years and a fine ranging from 200,000 kip to 1 million kip.

Official figures state that around a thousand people are killed every year nationally in road accidents with many involving hit-and-run cases.

According to the Traffic Police Department of the Ministry of Public Security, nationwide last year there were 5,616 road accidents, which caused the deaths of 1,086 people, injured another 8,912, and damaged 10,305 vehicles with damages estimated at over 83 billion kip.

This compares to 5,571 accidents that occurred around the country in 2015, in which 995 people were killed and over 85 billion kip in damages was caused.

About 90 percent of accidents involve drunken driving, speeding and other violations of the traffic rules. Many accidents occur on weekends and special occasions when people get together to drink alcohol.

Authorities are urging motorists to play their part by following the traffic regulations to reduce the number of road accidents.