WHO applauds new helmet law that comes into effect on January 1 2014

Children wearing appropriate helmets
WHO Viet Nam
School children wear certified and labeled helmets meeting the national standard

The World Health Organization (WHO) in Viet Nam applauds a new helmet law that comes into effect on New Year’s Day 2014. As of January 01, Government Decree 171 will require that Viet Nam’s 40 million motorists wear helmets certified and labeled as meeting the national standard.

“Decree 171, is a welcome, new initiative to start off the New Year 2014, said Dr. Takeshi Kasai, WHO Representative in Viet Nam. “Research consistently demonstrates that wearing a correctly fastened, standardized helmet can save lives by reducing the likelihood of death by 42% and serious head injuries by 69%" Dr. Kasai added.

Since the passage of Viet Nam's historical motorcycle helmet law in 2007, wearing rates in motorcycle riders and passengers have been maintained at over 90%. However, concern over the quality of the helmets being worn has been mounting since recent tests of motorcycle helmets conducted by WHO show that 84% of helmets being used provide negligible protection from head or brain injuries in the event of a crash. Motorcycles represent 95% of the vehicles on Viet Nam’s roads yet use of national, quality standard helmets remains low amongst the general population.

Under Decree 171, police can penalize motorcycles wearing a substandard helmet as if they are not wearing a helmet at all. This is an important milestone in Viet Nam's on-going efforts to improve motorcycle helmet legislation.

As part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Road Safety Program in Viet Nam, WHO and other international partners have been working with Government counterparts and the National Traffic Safety Committee to close loopholes in national road safety legislation, particularly related to motorcycle helmets and drink—driving and to ensure quality helmets are available for people’s use.

The National Traffic Safety Committee, with WHO support, recently launched a nationwide social marketing campaign to advocate the benefits of using quality helmets and the potentially fatal consequences not doing so.

"WHO will continue to work with Viet Nam’s Government, particularly to advocate for the availability of quality motorcycle helmets, and to implement concerted measures to ensure that Decree 171 is properly enforced to achieve our common goal of saving lives on Viet Nam's roads," said Dr Kasai.

For more information, please contact

Ms. Tran Thi Loan
Tel: 84-4-943 3734/5/6 (ext. 83886)
Mobile: 84-090 488 7997
Email: media.vtn@wpro.who.int

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