While concerned agencies are trying to fight fake or substandard crash helmets for motorbike drivers, a World Health Organization (WHO) representative said even helmets with Conformity with Regulation (CR) stamps are unlikely to meet required standards.
>> No fine for helmet users: minister>> Numerous dodgy crash helmets found in HCMC >> Roadmap needed for substandard helmet penalty: experts The warning was released by Dr. Cris Tunon at a meeting held by the Market Management Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade to discuss measures to fight against fake and substandard helmets. In order to assess the quality of helmets, which all motorbike drivers in Vietnam are required to wear under a regulation issued in 2007, WHO experts have conducted surveys in four locations, including Hanoi, Ha Nam, Ninh Binh and Bac Giang. These experts have purchased many kinds of helmets listed as meeting required standards and put them through tests at State-recognized laboratories. Results showed that 81 percent of the samples met the standards on weight and necessary components while only 18.9 percent met standards on shock absorption. As for helmets with CR stamps, nearly 100 percent of the samples satisfied requirements on weight and components, but only 46 percent met the shock absorption standard, Dr. Tunon said. Tran Van Vinh, deputy head of the Standardization, Metrology and Quality Control department, recognized the WHO’s finding. Vinh emphasized that many producers have not continued to manufacture helmets that conform to required regulations after they obtained the certification of Conformity to Regulation (CR) or the samples of helmets they have submitted to concerned agencies for examination. This means that those producers may still attach CR stamps to their substandard products, he explained. Currently, many types of fake, poor quality or imitation helmets are on sale throughout the country, and concerned agencies are trying to seize them, Vinh said. Between February 25 and April 30, market management forces inspected 1,770 helmet producers and traders, seizing more than 53,800 suspect helmets and handing out fines worth over VND873 million (US$42,000), according to a report by the Market Management Department.Who should be fined? Delegates at the meeting also discussed whether a fine should be applied to people who wear substandard helmets. Senior Lieutenant Colonel Le Xuan Duc, from the Road and Railway Traffic Police Department, cited Decree71/2012 as saying that traffic police will only fine motorbike riders who do not wear a helmet or wear a helmet but do not fasten the chin strap. Fines should not be imposed on people wearing dodgy helmets, but should be given to producers and traders of such helmets, Duc said. “Concerned agencies must be responsible for the prevalence of substandard or imitation helmets on the market,” he said.
Nguyen Hoang Hiep, deputy chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee, agreed, saying that Circular 06/2013 issued by four ministries, Science and Technology, Industry and Trade, Public Security and Transport, does not stipulate fines on wearers of poor quality helmets. Regarding this issue, Nguyen Thi Kim Thoa, head of the Justice Ministry’s Criminal and Administrative Department, has previously said that responsibility for the quality of helmets belongs to producers, not to consumers, who will find it difficult to differentiate between genuine and questionable helmets. So the subject of the fine is the makers, not the users, of helmets.