– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Helmet Law Saves Lives – In Vietnam

No subject is sure to spur more debate among motorcyclists than helmet laws. They’re not popular in the United States; only 20 states (and the District of Columbia) require all riders to wear helmets. But evidence suggests (strongly) that motorcycle fatalities decline when helmet laws are in effect.

That’s why the Vietnamese government attempted to take a dent out of that country’s high traffic fatality rate – over 13,000 a year – by instituting a helmet law last December 15th. Although there was grumbling, thanks to increased police enforcement (a 2001 helmet law was repealed because of massive protest from the country’s 22 million motorcyclists) and a 150,000-Dong (about $9) fine, compliance has been very high.

As a result, traffic fatalities have dropped by over 1400 compared to 2007, and serious injuries have seen a reduction of 2200, according to a World Health Organization report released last week. Of course, as the statistics come from the communist Vietnamese government, it’s predictable they would back up the efficacy of the law.

Interestingly, an American-run charity can take some of the credit. Asia Injury, started by American Greig Craft, owns and operates Protec, Vietnam’s largest manufacturer of safety helmets. The factory makes over 5000 helmets a day, and all profits go into “public awareness campaigns and traffic safety education programs through Asia Injuries’ programs in Vietnam,” according to Protec’s website. The Protec helmets, designed for use in Vietnam’s hot, humid climate, are changing the traditional Vietnamese attitude towards helmets, which are derisively called “rice cookers.”

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