UN praises Vietnam for improving road safety

The United Nations commended the Vietnamese government for their continued attention to strengthening road safety, on May 20.

Taking effect on May 20, Government Decree 34 addresses many important road safety issues including the requirement that children from six years of age wear helmets whenever they travel on a motorcycle.

To draw further attention to this important milestone, The World Health Organization (WHO), in collaboration with road safety and international stakeholders will soon administer a media campaign to raise awareness among adults and parents that they are now legally responsible ensure children wear helmets.

Since May 20, children from six years of age wear helmets whenever they travel on a motorcycle, said the government decree 34 taking effect on May 20

With an estimated 4,000 children tragically killed and many thousands seriously injured each year, the vast majority of them related to travel on motorcycles, road traffic injuries are a leading cause of death and disability of Vietnamese children.

This change in legislation comes about despite the misguided belief of many parents that wearing a helmet can increase the risk of injuries to the child's neck.

National hospital statistics from the Ministry of Health indicate that since the national helmet law took effect in 2007, more than 6,800 children under the age of 15 have been hospitalized with traumatic brain injuries resulting from road traffic crashes. 

Parents and adults must be role models for all children and always wear helmets themselves.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to protect children. Helmets for children are widely available and have been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of traumatic brain injury.” added Mr Morch.  "Under this new legislation, if a child is not correctly wearing a helmet then the adult who is carrying them will be fined 100,000-200,000 VND."

Vietnam is one of only three countries in the world where helmet standards have been developed specially with the requirements of children in mind. This should provide parents with confidence that it is both suitable and appropriate for children to wear helmets each and every time they travel on a motorcycle.

 “We congratulate Vietnamese government on closing this last major loophole in the already successful national helmet legislation. We are confident that this new legislation, when thoroughly and stringently enforced will boost the number of Vietnamese children wearing helmets, in turn making their daily experiences on Vietnam's roads safer,” explained Dr Jean-Marc Olivé, WHO Representative in Vietnam.

WHO and UNICEF said they look forward to continuing their cooperation and collaboration with the Government and other partners in this important area, to achieve our common goal of saving lives on Vietnam's roads.

By Uyen Phuong

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