Police in Vietnam began to fine those driving or riding motorbikes without crash-helmets or with ones worn improperly on Tuesday, but have yet to penalize those donning poor-quality helmets as they are waiting for instructions on how to exactly identify substandard protective headgear.
According to Article 6.3 of Decree 171/ND-CP dated November 13, 2013, traffic police will impose a fine of VND100,000-200,000 (US$4.7-9.4) on those driving or riding motorbikes without crash helmets or with helmets worn incorrectly, starting July 1 this year.
Wearing one’s helmet “incorrectly” includes: wearing a helmet without fastening the chinstrap, letting the fastened strap hang loose from the chin, and wearing the helmet in such a way that it can be taken off one’s head easily by pulling up the front or the back of the helmet.
However, in cases where people driving or riding motorbikes with poor quality helmets that fail to ensure safety for wearers, police in many localities, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang City, Can Tho City, have yet to fine them but have only given them warnings about the danger of unsafe helmets, and advised them to comply with relevant regulations.
Senior Lieutenant Colonel Tran Thanh Tra, head of the Ho Chi Minh City Railway and Road Traffic Police Department, told VnExpress newspaper on Tuesday that the local traffic police have yet to penalize wearers of poor-quality helmets, given the absence of a basis for traffic police officers to conclude or prove whether a crash helmet is substandard.
“Therefore, we only give warnings to people who wear helmets suspected to be of poor quality,” the official said.
Like their Ho Chi Minh City counterparts, Hanoi police yesterday did not fine travelers wearing helmets suspected to be below par, pending further instructions.
Colonel Dao Vinh Thanh, head of the Hanoi Railway and Road Traffic Police Department, said police find it difficult to discover substandard helmets.
One of the most difficult things is that traffic police cannot identify which helmets are of poor quality or fake by simply using their bare eyes, Thanh said.
Captain Nguyen Hoang Hai, head of the mobile traffic patrol team B12 in the capital, told VnExpress that local police have merely encouraged travelers to comply with regulations on wearing crash-helmets.
Whether a fine is imposed on wearers of helmets in days to come will depend on the latest instructions from the city’s police, Hai said.
The same situation was seen in several other localities, such as central Da Nang City, the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, and the Mekong Delta province of Can Tho