Vietnam's latest effort to reduce deaths on its roads has prompted a rush on driver licensing centres, with 14,000 Hanoians lining up for licences in the past two weeks. The government has brought in regulations requiring people registering new motorcycles to possess a licence, and they promised that police would enforce the rule with spot checks. The Asian Injury Prevention Foundation in Hanoi said Vietnam was expected to have about 10 million motorcycles on the road by the end of this year. In Ho Chi Minh City in the south, it is estimated that half the two million or more riders are unlicensed. That means they have not been tested on road law. It is common in major cities for people to ride on the wrong side of the road, with three or four people on a motorcycle, and without stopping at red lights. With most people reluctant to wear helmets, despite laws requiring them to be worn at least on major roads, the risk of injury and death on the roads continues. Transport Department figures show that a decade ago, an average of 2,600 people died on Vietnam's roads every year. That figure is now up to almost 12,000, making traffic accidents the leading cause of preventable death. Nguyen Xuan Tan, head of Hanoi's Vehicle Control Department, said people who broke traffic rules were mainly to blame. 'The next reason is the explosion of Chinese motorbikes in Vietnam, and the lack of police enforcement,' he told a newspaper. At a conference on accidents and injuries, officials said an average of 30 people a day were dying on the roads. Another 70 were injured. 'At least now we're seeing officials at a senior government level talking about the problem,' said one of those who attended the conference. But several health and safety experts said the government faced a sizeable task in getting internal agreement on how to tackle it. They said the overloaded National Safety Commission and the Ministry of Health appeared reluctant to use their limited resources to take on a large action plan, which could be difficult to implement. The new licence requirement appears to be a solid step towards improving driver education. Driver training centres in Hanoi have reported that applications are up by 40 per cent on previous months. While many Vietnamese drivers simply pay to get a pass in the test, and in Hanoi that can cost about US$15 (HK$117), trainees going through the official process must demonstrate a written knowledge of the road rules and pass a short driving test.