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Motorbike helmet crackdown flagged

Update: March, 04/2013 - 03:00

HA NOI (VNS)— Motorbike helmets that do not meet safety requirements will be withdrawn from shops, according to a new regulation in a draft joint circular signed by the ministries of transport, public security, science and technology and industry and trade.

The regulation aims to ensure helmets have all the necessary parts such as adequate chin straps, along with a stamp indicating CR approval.

The draft circular also regulates that motorbike drivers wearing fake helmets or helmets that do not meet safety standards will be fined, with fines at similar levels to those given to motorists who are not wearing a helmet. The fines will range from VND100,000-200,000 (US$4.7-9.5).

Tran Hung, deputy director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Market Watch Department, said the draft decree would also allow authorities to clampdown on manufacturing, sale and use of fake helmets.

"With the new decree, fake helmet manufacturers and sellers will be strictly punished, and police will also strengthen their supervision on drivers using fake helmets," he said.

Hung said he expected the sale of fake helmets to be eliminated or brought under control by October. He said that for a long time fake helmets were common in the marketplace due to the lack of legal regulations to clampdown on their trade.

"We already have regulations on helmet manufacturing and trading, but it is the first time we have detailed norms for helmets used while travelling," he said.

However, the most important work is not giving out fines, but improving people's awareness on the need to protect themselves while on a motorbike, said Hung.

As many as 70 per cent of helmets on sale in Ha Noi's markets are substandard, according to statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Trade's Market Watch Department.

Substandard helmet are so common as they are very cheap, with prices of about VND30,000-60,000 (US$1.4-2.8), while a helmet that meets safety standards can cost VND150,000-300,000 ($7-14).

Vuong Chi Dung, deputy director of the Ha Noi Market Watch Department, said that the sale of substandard helmets resulted in a number of enterprises making legal helmets going bankrupt.

More than 50 enterprises in the city produced helmets in 2011, however, only six of them were able to continue normal business operations. In addition, fake helmets resulted in the loss of a great amount of tax for the State budget, said Dung.

In a crackdown on fake helmets on Monday, the Ha Noi Market Watch checked 2,350 helmets in 13 shops. More than 1,600 were substandard with unclear origins and did not have quality stamps. — VNS

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