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Problems persist ten years after helmet law passed in Vietnam

Tuesday, December 19, 2017, 11:09 GMT+7

The findings of a review by independent bodies of the decade-long implementation of compulsory helmet legislation for riders were announced in a conference in Hanoi last week.

Helmeted motorcyclists now account for more than 90 percent of all motorcycle users in Vietnam, which is reportedly chiefly responsible for a reduction in annual traffic accident fatalities to 9,000 as well as a reduction in serious brain injuries, said Khuat Viet Hung, vice chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee, and the organizer of the meeting on December 15.

In contrast to this news, a mere 35 to 40 percent of child passengers wore helmets during a ride in 2017, compared to above 50 percent in 2013, according to the World Health Organization.

Thanks to helmet use, as many as 500,000 brain traumas and 15,000 deaths were averted, according to a study by the AIP (Asia Injury Prevention) and FIA Foundation.

As for helmet quality, the WHO highlighted stats that said the percentage of riders utilizing helmets compliant with safety standards was now 70 percent in Vietnam, but this was offset by a 2013 study, which said that only 40 percent of new, certified helmets actually passed impact absorption tests.

In addition, the vast majority – 90 percent – of students who rode e-bicycles failed to wear a helmet of any kind.

Meanwhile, confusion amongst officials surrounding penalties for using ‘counterfeit’ or unsafe helmets has yet to be clarified.

Historically, prior to the enactment of the helmet law, Resolution 32, advocates of compulsory helmet wearing were met with strong opposition, making its execution practically impossible.

However, headgear as a new social norm has become a fact just a few years later, due to widespread recognition of its obvious safety benefits.

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