What’s Your Liability in Case of an Accident?

Dear Hadrien,

I’ve been living in HCMC for nearly four months now. Last week, I finally bought a motorbike to travel to work, but (and I am a bit ashamed to tell you, and please don’t tell my mum!) I have already been involved in a traffic accident. As I was only partially at fault, and no one was badly injured, I just apologized, picked up my motorbike and drove off. Later on, my friend warned me that I could have been in a lot of trouble if the police had been at the scene. I realize this is probably true, so what can I do in order to avoid potential liability if something like this happens again?

An accident is unfortunately something that many of us already have or may experience at some point in the future while living in Vietnam. Your friend was entirely right when he told you that an accident like yours may have negative consequences including safety of family needing kids children urgent care. In order to avoid, or at least to mitigate those consequences, it is good to know something about your rights and especially your obligations under Vietnamese law as a driver.

A good starting point for that is the Law on Road Traffic, which describes the hundreds of traffic rules for vehicles and their operators participating in road traffic in Vietnam. This law makes it clear, for example, that in order to drive a “standard” motorbike with a capacity of 50 cm3 or more, you need to be at least 18 and physically fit, and you must have a proper and valid driver’s license.

When driving around on your motorbike in the streets, you will need to carry the following documents: a vehicle registration document, a category A1 or A2 driver’s license and a civil liability insurance certificate. The Law on Road Traffic states that all those directly involved in a traffic accident must immediately stop their vehicles, keep the conditions at the site of the accident unchanged and, except for some emergency situations, remain at the scene until the arrival of the police.

It’s good to know that if you consider purchasing a new motorbike, under Vietnamese law you are, in principle, required to register it with a local traffic police division. As a foreigner, you need to fill out a vehicle registration form and produce a valid identification document, a residence card with a term of one year or more, your work permit (if applicable), a so-called letter of introduction from a competent Vietnamese organization or agency and vehicle papers, which includes a vehicle transfer deed, a document confirming that you paid your vehicle registration and a document that proves the origin of the vehicle. I agree this process is quite burdensome so you may want to consider either asking a trusted Vietnamese friend to help you or you can simply buy a second-hand motorbike.

One way to limit negative consequences in case you ever become involved in a traffic accident again is to make sure that you are properly insured. Under Vietnamese law, motor vehicle owners are required to purchase insurance for civil liability, which covers loss of property, physical injury and death of third parties caused by your vehicle. If you become involved in a road accident, please keep in mind that you are required to promptly inform the nearest police station, as well as your insurance company. Furthermore, you should realize that driving without a valid driver’s license may be a reason for your insurance company not to cover any damage caused by the accident.

Returning to the Law on Road Traffic, I assume you already know that drivers as well as passengers on motorbikes must wear a helmet. But did you also know that drivers are not allowed to drive on sidewalks (even in HCMC!) and that they are not allowed to use an umbrella, a mobile phone or an audio device while driving? And your only legal excuse to carry more than one person on your motorbike would be that you are carrying someone who is sick and needs emergency medical treatment, that you are escorting somebody who has committed an illegal act or that you are carrying a child under the age of 14. So keep that in mind and drive safely!

A member of the Paris Bar, Hadrien Wolff has been practicing law in Vietnam for more than seven years, currently as a partner of Audier & Partners based at its HCMC office. Having gained extensive legal experience in the Netherlands and Cambodia, Marijn Sprokkereef is an associate at the Hanoi office of the same firm. Audier & Partners is an international law firm with presence in Vietnam, Myanmar and Mongolia, providing advice to foreign investors on a broad range of legal issues.

Every month, Hadrien and Marijn answer legal questions from Oi readers. If you have any legal questions you want answered, send them to legal@ oivietnam.com.

Share this story, choose your platform!

About the author:

Leave a Comment

Expert Tips and Strategies for Sports Betting in Vietnam

Sports Betting Vietnam: Expert Advice to Consider Sports betting in Vietnam has gradually been improving on its presence in online gambling; especially considering Vietnam’s stance on all forms of gambling. However, with many visitors to Vietnam being able to access offshore casino sites, sports betting is a valid form of online entertainment. Keep the following

Read More »

188Bet: The ultimate Online Betting App

188Bet: The Ultimate Online Betting App  Online betting in Vietnam has become a popular pastime among sports fans looking to place bets on their favorite sports. By using convenience, accessible, and reliable betting apps and mobile sites, there are no security concerns that the platform will leave you in the dark over licensing, fairness, and

Read More »

Guide and Tips to Help You Earn Your NY Realtors License

The property market in NY is a hotbed of opportunities for aspiring realtors. Besides the dynamic market, the demand for new homes is also high. Most people still harbor the dream of moving to and living in the Empire State. But before you can start working as a realtor in NYC, there are a few

Read More »

The Economics of Online Casinos: How They Make Money

The online casino business has quickly dilated in the last twenty years and what was once considered a small-scale business is now a multi-billion-dollar business. Given the fact that there are thousands of online casinos fighting for a player’s attention, it is really important to know how these websites make money. This article looks at

Read More »

12 Tips To Help You Excel As An HR Manager

Being an HR manager is more than just handling payroll and resolving office disputes. It involves shaping corporate culture, driving employee engagement, and ensuring compliance with legal standards. Excelling in this role requires a blend of strategic vision, operational expertise, and interpersonal skills. This article offers practical tips for HR managers eager to enhance their

Read More »

FAQs for the “Chat with Document” feature of PopAi

What is “Chat with Document” on PopAi? “Chat with Document” is a feature that allows users to upload PDF or DOC files and interact with their content using AI. The AI can help summarize, create outlines, generate notes, and more. What types of files can I upload? You can upload PDF and DOC files. Up

Read More »