80 pct of helmets unsafe, substandard

Up to 80 percent of helmets sold at markets are substandard and would not protect a rider’s head in an accident, a conference recently heard.

The conference on the quality of helmets, held by the Vietnam Red Cross and the Vietnam-based Global Road Safety Partnership on December 26, was part of the policy-making process on helmet standards.

Vice chairman of the Vietnam Red Cross Nguyen Huu Hong said there are, on average, 36 traffic accidents nationwide each day, killing 30 people and injuring 28.

Statistics from Hanoi-based Vietnam-Germany Hospital showed that 33.8 percent of motorcyclists suffer brain injuries due to not wearing helmets, three times higher than those who do.

Up to 86 percent of cases of brain injuries in hospital resulted from traffic accidents.

Regulations on wearing helmets have been issued to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries. However, substandard helmets are among problems yet to be solved.

Nguyen The Dat of the municipal Market Watch Department said that vendors could say the helmets are sold for cyclists, not motorcyclists.

“Even authorized agencies have difficulty responding to such claims,” Dat said. “This has caused difficulties for inspectors and consumers.”

Nguyen Hong Linh of the Ministry of Science and Technology’s Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality said that the ministries of Science and Technology, Industry and Trade, Public Security and Transport have collaborated to draft a decree on producing, importing, trading and using standard helmets for motorbike drivers.

The decree is expected to list fines for violators and the responsibilities of relevant authorities, he said.

Figures from the Ministry of Transport showed that by the end of July, there were 35.2 million motorbikes operating nationwide.

More than 6,160 traffic accidents overall this year killed 5,370 people and injured 4,500 others. More than 70 percent of the accidents involved motorbikes.

Experts say that wearing helmets might reduce fatalities by 40 percent.

VNS/VOV online