Parents face fines if their kids don't don helmets

Parents of children who ride electric bikes or ride pillion without wearing a helmet will be fined between VND100,000-200,000 (US$4.60-9.30) from next month, Hanoi Traffic Safety Committee has said.

Nguyen Duc Kha, chief of the committee secretariat, said that for the next week, traffic police would be mobilised around schools to remind parents who carried children from six years old or more on motorbikes without helmets - and students who rode electric bikes without helmet.

From April 10, police will fine violators. Parents carrying children with no helmets would be fined on the spot while students riding electric bikes will have a penalty ticket sent to their schools or to their homes.

Kha said the fines were not heavy, but would raise awareness about the importance of children wearing helmets.

Recently, the Ministry of Education and Training told its departments in localities to issue specific regulations about students riding electric bikes with no helmet.

Primary and secondary schools were told to ask parents to sign commitments that their children would wear helmets while riding pillion on motorbikes or riding electric bikes.

Nguyen Thu Huong, mother of a seven-year-old girl in Hanoi's Nguyen Truong To Street, said she totally agreed with the regulation, adding that children or adults must wear helmets to protect their safety.

"I know that every parent is aware of the importance of child safety. However, many don't worry about helmets for their children," she said.

Huong said she bought a helmet for her child, but admitted that sometimes she forgot to wear it.

Nguyen Trung Kien, a father whose daughter rode electric bikes to school every day, said he would feel more secure if she wore helmet.

"The silent operation of the bikes and driving inexperience can be dangerous for teenagers. They really should wear helmets!", he said.

Figures from the Ministry of Health showed that about 1,900 children died of traffic accidents annually. Of these, about 50 per cent suffered from head injuries because they were not wearing helmets.

Nguyen Trong Thai, chief of the secretariat of the National Traffic Safety Committee, said that Hanoi, HCM City and Da Nang had once introduced penalties for violators, but little was done.

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