The World Health Organization in Vietnam has welcomed a new regulation which requires motorists to wear helmets certified as meeting national quality standards from January 1.
"Decree 171 is a welcome new initiative to start off the New Year," Dr Takeshi Kasai, WHO Representative in Vietnam, said.
"Research consistently demonstrates that wearing a correctly fastened, standardized helmet can save lives by reducing the likelihood of death by 42 percent and serious head injuries by 69 percent."
Since Vietnam made helmets compulsory for motorcyclists and pillion riders in 2007, the compliance rate has consistently been more than 90 percent. But concern over the quality of the helmets has been mounting since recent studies by WHO found that 84 percent of helmets used provide negligible protection from head and brain injuries in a crash.
Motorcycles make up 95 percent of the vehicles on Vietnam's roads.
Under Decree 171, the penalty for wearing a substandard helmet is similar to the one for not wearing a helmet.
"WHO will continue to work with the Vietnamese government, particularly to advocate quality motorcycle helmets and to implement concerted measures to ensure that Decree 171 is properly enforced to achieve our common goal of saving lives on Vietnam's roads," said Kasai.
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