HCMC begins enforcement of children wearing motorcycle helmets

On September 11, the Traffic Safety Committee in Ho Chi Minh City and Traffic Police launched the next stage in a national initiative to reduce the high number of children killed or seriously injured on Vietnam’s roads.

Children wearing helmets raise a banner in support of traffic safety (Photo: U. Phuong)

Part of a three-year program to increase motorcycle helmet wearing in Vietnamese children “Children also need a helmet”, this new campaign is the latest activity in a partnership between the National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC), the Road and Rail Traffic Police Department and the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the non-profit, Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation.

Starting from today, with the support of WHO, dedicated units of the traffic police will commence enhanced helmet wearing enforcement operations in five municipality districts, targeting school-aged children who ride as passengers on motorcycles.

In addition to enforcement activities, police officers will also be distributing leaflets and flyers about helmet and motorcycle safety standards as well as vouchers for free helmets.

“Legislation mandates that children from age six and above must wear a helmet when travelling on a motorcycle. Parents or adults carrying a child without a helmet are liable for a fine of VND100,000($4.79) – VND200,000 ($9.6)” said Mr. Nguyen Trong Thai, Chief Secretariat of the NTSC.

“Enhanced enforcement is one of the most effective measures to increase helmet wearing in accordance with the law. To achieve maximum impact, we will be implementing enforcement near schools particularly during the times when parents are dropping off or picking up their children” said Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Tuong, Standing Deputy Chief of the HCMC Traffic Safety Committee.

“Latest helmet wearing results from July 2012 show that whilst more than 77 percent of adult riders and passengers in HCMC are wearing helmets correctly, only 32 percent of children are helmeted” said Dr Takeshi Kasai, WHO Representative to Vietnam, through this program we hope to increase this to at least 60 percent of children by the end of December 2012.

Enforcement operations over the next four months will also be supported and supplemented by public information and social marketing campaigns including TV documentaries, billboards and flyers.  “Parents are often unaware that helmets can dramatically decrease the likelihood that their child will be injured or killed in the event of a crash,” said AIP Foundation Executive Director Mirjam Sidik.

Following the successful piloting of this program in HCMC, partners anticipate scaling up to include Ha Noi and the central city of Da Nang within the next six months.

By Uyen Phuong

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