Just read this online at Thanh Nien News. The traffic police in Saigon will not be allowed to fine Expats and Viet Kieu for violating the traffic rules. Fines will be issued at the scene with the aid of video recorders.
Take note though, ‘violators’ should pay the fine AT the office later, not to the traffic policeman. Fines for not wearing a proper helmet or running a red light runs about 100,000-200,000 VND. Speeding ranges from 200,000-800,000 VND. Oh, if you do not have a driver’s license in Vietnam, you will get another fine most likely. I will work on mine when I get my temporary residence permit hopefully next month. The process is easier now.
My advice, just follow the laws. Remember that you should ride on the right lane at ALL times. I got fined two years ago for riding in the left lane. I paid 40,000 VND at that time. I have not had a fine since then.
Some may ask if the traffic police will now pull you over if they noticed you are a foreigner? If they do and you feel that you did not violate any traffic law then fight it. That’s what the Vietnamese do but remember, if you do not have a motorbike license, you are violating the law.
This could be a blow to the tourist areas since many tourists rent motorbikes with little or no experience riding them.
For me, I will follow the rules. Things are changing in Vietnam rapidly. Next year all Foreigners working in Vietnam will be required to obtain Tax IDs and obtain work permits. This was much needed and finally will eliminate the discriminatory income tax regulations.
Read more about the new traffic regulation of foreigners here -> http://thanhniennews.com/society/?catid=3&newsid=44618
Update: Thanh Nien News posted an update to their story today. HCMC Traffic Police Deputy Chief Lieutenant-Colonel Tran Thanh Tra was reported saying that ‘Fluent’ English traffic police deputies will be dispatched when an Expat ‘offender’ is stopped for a traffic violation. Easier said than done so I guess the traffic policeman who stops an Expat traffic offender in say, the Thu Duc District, will not mind waiting for an English speaking deputy. We just will have to wait and see what happens.
The general feeling among Expats is that even though the new rule is fair, many of the traffic police will abuse it and just pull over Expats for money. I am not generalizing, the traffic police have that reputation here in Saigon. Notice the high number of expensive motorbikes that are repeatedly pulled over by the traffic police. The police CAN now take your motorbike as well. Previously they could not.
Tourists are fair game as well according to the ruling and I personally think they will be most affected by it.
Time to think about switching to an electric bike or plain ole bicycle.