Hoang Lam, director of the Quality Assurance and Safety Centre (Quatest 3), discusses the importance of the Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet Law with Ha Noi Moi (New Ha Noi) newspaper.
Numerous low-quality motorcycle helmets are sold in the market that have quality stamps (CR) from the Quatest 3. What is your response to that?
I don't deny that fact. But let me just focus on two factors. First, it is the fake helmets themselves. They don't have the stamps of manufacturing companies but have the CR stamps, or verification stamps that indicate that the helmets conform to regulations.
Second, manufacturers, wholesalers or retailers sell helmets that have failed to meet the CR tests conducted by our Quatest 3 but still have the CR stamps on them. In this case, we will conduct investigations to find out why and then decide what level of penalties to apply.
I have to concede the fact that some manufacturers have produced helmets that don't measure up to the quality which they have claimed. They must be subjected to heavy administrative penalties!
A case in point is the Hung Hau company, which had its quality certification revoked twice for failing to meet regulations. After the two incidents, the company took actions to correct its mistake. It was then given the green light to continue producing helmets. But not long after that, the company again breached its commitment and even copied the helmets of other companies. As a consequence, Hung Hau's license was again revoked.
At present, the helmets of fewer than 20 manufacturers receive CR stamps from the Quartest 3. This is a considerable drop compared with that during the introduction of the CR stamps.
What should we do to eliminate low-quality helmets from the market?
There are hundreds of companies that produce helmets. Now we have the Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet Law. So it is very important to give life to this law. No one has the right to exempt themselves from the coverage of this law.
In my opinion, the Government should make helmet production conditional. Only manufacturers that meet legal requirements should be granted licences.
In addition, local authorities play an important role in conducting market watch missions to ensure that only helmets with CR stamps are sold. And a mechanism of awards and punishments should be introduced to encourage good people to do good deeds.
What do you think of the role of Quatest 3 in relation to the rampant circulation of low-quality helmets in the market?
I think the first one to be blamed for this are the manufacturers, then the Quatest 3. By saying so, it does not mean that we have not done our job properly. We have always tried to do our best. But I think that in the immediate future, we should co-ordinate with the manufacturers to ensure that only top-quality helmets with proper CR stamps are sold in the market.
To overcome the above mentioned weaknesses, in your opinion, what should we do to wipe out low-quality helmets from the market?
The first change we have to make is to conduct more frequent market watch missions with the involvement of various stakeholders.
We should not just sit and wait until Transport Safety Month, like now, to take action. The proper penalties must be imposed on all violations. We should never leave work unfinished. — VNS