What can we do to ease traffic woes during the school year?

The first few days of September mark the start of a new school year. This brings with it a flood of extra vehicles, especially in Vientiane. Vientiane Times asked some people for their thoughts on ways to reduce congestion on the roads and how to encourage safe driving.


Ms Soumaly Pholboudy, a student in Borikhamxay province: When a new term starts, the roads are full of traffic, and there seems to be more each year. Unfortunately, congestion is normal. If we want to resolve this issue, we should leave home earlier in the morning to get to school, our office, or somewhere else. And with it now being the rainy season it’s quite difficult for students who have to travel by bicycle or motorbike. It goes without saying that all drivers should be considerate and obey the traffic regulations in order to prevent accidents. People who drive cars should be very careful in the rain and not drive too fast.

Ms Phonthip, an employee in Chanthabouly district: With the start of the new school year, I’ve seen many youngsters under the age of 15 driving. I’m not sure whether they have licences but sometimes I have seen them racing and driving recklessly. This creates a serious risk of accidents and teenagers don’t have any respect for the traffic regulations. I know some parents don’t have time to take their children to school but they should consider their responsibilities and the safety of their children before allowing them to drive. It would be good if the police seriously looked into this problem. The authorities should strictly implement the rules to regulate and discipline drivers and reduce the number of road accidents.

Mr Samlanxay Choulamany, an official in Khammuan province: As we all know, the number of vehicles on the roads increases every year and I’m worried about the safety of children when they have to cross roads. Some schools have police or security guards to help, which is very good, but some schools don’t employ them. I think it’s very important for all schools near main roads to have this kind of supervision as it means parents don’t need to take their children across the roads themselves and don’t need to park by the roadside while they drop their children off, which really helps to reduce congestion. 

Ms Sivilay Phongoudom, a secondary school student in Xaythany district: I’m sure there’ll be lots of traffic problems and congestion on the roads now that the long school holiday has come to an end. All drivers should be careful when driving near markets, hospitals and schools because these areas are very crowded and the risk of road accidents is higher. In addition, I would like to ask drivers to stop when they see students standing by the road and obviously wanting to cross. Another problem is that most drivers still don’t bother to wear helmets or use seatbelts. I think all drivers should pay greater attention to safety to lower the risk of accidents. And students should be more careful when they cross roads and should make a point of only using zebra crossings.

Mr Bounmy, an employee in Sisattanak district: It’s normal for towns to suffer from this problem. I think it’s quite hard to make changes and improve the situation because most drivers still don’t abide by the regulations, even though the authorities are trying to run road safety campaigns, and there are more and more accidents. I would like to call on students and their parents to have greater consideration for other road users. They shouldn’t just consider themselves; they should pay attention to the safety of children too.  

By Lamphone Pasanthong
(Latest Update September 4, 2018)

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