April, 19 2013 10:01:06

Thousands swap unsafe helmets for good ones

HA NOI (VNS)— Nearly 100,000 unsafe motorbike helmets have been swapped for those of standard quality in two exchange campaigns launched by the National Traffic Safety Committee.

Bike owners have had no hesitation in paying between VND30,000 and VND100,000 (US$1.40 to 4.70) for the privilege.

The first three-day programme, launched last month, led to the exchange of about 45,000 substandard helmets.

The two-month second campaign, starting on April 6, is being carried out in Ha Noi, HCM City, Hai Phong City and Thai Binh Province.

The results showed the community was thinking positively, said committee chairman Nguyen Hoang Hiep.

Nguyen Huy Hoang, a student from Ha Noi-based University of Technology said he bought a qualified helmet for VND100,000.

"The price is good. The programme is very helpful, particularly for students like us. We can now afford safe helmets to protect us," he said.

Before that Hoang used to wear an egshell-thin helmet he bought in Kim Lien street for VND40,000 ($1.9).

Pham Ngoc Thuong, a Ha Noi resident, said the programme encouraged her whole family to use better helmets.

"It is undeniable that fake helmets are fashionable with their many designs and light weight. However, the Government's stricter regulations prompted us to put safety first," she said.

Substandard or fake helmets exchanged by users will be destroyed.

At a meeting on Tuesday to review helmet replacement, Deputy Prime Minister Ngyen Xuan Phuc urged the Ministry of Trade and Industry for stricter supervision and control over helmet qualitiy.

To date, Government agencies have discovered 1,500 businesses violating regulations, seized more than 65,400 substandard helmets and fined violators over VND165 million ($7,800).

Vietnam News Agency Communist Youth Union in co-operation with the National Traffic Safety Committee yesterday launched a campaign to encourage people to say no to substandard helmets. — VNS

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