A delegation of Cambodian government officials arrived in Vietnam on Thursday to discuss road safety management, helmet standards and helmet law enforcement.
The Cambodian delegation includes officials from the National Road Safety Committee (NRSC), the Institute of Standards of Cambodia (ISC) of the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft, and the General Commissariat of National Police, according to Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation that coordinates the meetings.
The group visited AIP Foundation’s Protec Tropical Helmet Factory and Testing Laboratory in Hanoi as well as the Vietnamese government helmet testing center.
One objective for Cambodian officials is to determine the feasibility of building a similar facility in Cambodia, according to AIP Foundation.
The Cambodian draft traffic law, which would mandate helmet wearing for all motorcycle passenger, is expected to be enacted in 2015, and a helmet laboratory would be imperative to help curtail low-quality helmet use within the country.
During the visit, Vietnam National Traffic Safety Committee Vice Chairman Khuat Viet Hung discussed the process of developing and implementing the 2007 national helmet law as well as subsequent efforts to eliminate substandard helmet use.
According to Min Meanvy, NRSC Deputy Chairwoman and Secretary of State of Public Works and Transport, last year, 69 percent of road traffic fatalities in Cambodia were motorcyclists--62 percent of those fatalities died from head injuries and among those victims, only 20 percent were wearing helmets.
A study conducted by Dynamic Research Inc. in Cambodia in 2008 found that, on average, only one out of 12 helmets met Cambodia's official testing criteria. Since then, the helmet market has grown exponentially in Cambodia, and it is unclear if new helmet models are any safer.
Currently, more than 5 people die and 39 are injured every day on Cambodian roads, according to the AIP Foundation.
Over the last 9 years, the number of fatalities has doubled and the number of registered vehicles has more than tripled. Motorcycles are the most common form of transportation in the country, making users one of the most vulnerable groups on Cambodia’s road, AIP Foundation said in a release.
Lieutenant General Him Yan, Director of the Central Department of Public Order said Vietnam has employed advocacy efforts and campaign activities to address sub-standard helmets and helmet use.
“This is why we are here: to discuss new ways to improve the helmet standard within Cambodia, exchange lessons learned on the helmet enforcement and quality helmet use among motorcyclists, and to discuss the development of Cambodia’s very own helmet testing laboratory,” he said.