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International expert help Vietnam ease low quality helmets

Update: June, 14/2012 - 16:09

HA NOI – Vietnamese helmet testing laboratories have received advice from an international expert on how to better ensure the quality of helmets for motorcycle riders.

International helmet expert and road safety specialist Terry Smith is on a one-week visit to Ha Noi and HCM City from 10-17 June to monitor and advise Vietnamese helmet testing laboratories.

Vice Chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee Nguyen Hoang Hiep said Smith would advise the committee on how to eliminate poor quality and fake helmets from the local market.

"With Smith's experience, we are eager about our plans to ensure that all helmets produced, bought and sold in Viet Nam are of high and standardised quality," Hiep said, adding that the standard was vital in a country where 95 per cent of vehicles on the roads were motorbikes.

Smith said he had found that low quality and fake helmets were everywhere in the local market, while buyers may not understand how dangerous these products could be.

Since 2008, all adults on motorbikes are required to wear a helmet by law, however, a recent survey by the World Health Organisation showed that 80 per cent of helmets used in the country were fake or low quality.

Smith would conduct annual assessments of Protec's helmet testing lab as well as three other state-owned helmet testing laboratories in Viet Nam, Hiep said.

Smith has been independently testing various manufacturers' helmets since 1987. He has assisted in establishing helmet testing facilities in Canada, the US, Thailand and Viet Nam, and has recently worked with the Global Helmet Vaccine Initiative to introduce new helmet standards in Uganda and Tanzania.

In 2000, Smith and the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation assisted the Vietnamese Government with the development of the new national helmet standard known as TVCN 5756. – VNS

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