AP – Saturday, April 18
HANOI, Vietnam – Vietnam has closed a legal loophole that exempts children from wearing motorcycle helmets when they ride with their parents, state media reported Saturday.
Under a revised Transport Law that will take effect July 1, adults transporting children under age of 16 without a helmet will be fined up to 200,000 dong ($11), the Thanh Nien (Young People) newspaper said.
Currently, children under 16 or the adults responsible for them cannot be penalized if youngsters riding as passengers do not wear a helmet.
The World Health Organization has urged the Vietnamese government to amend the law to include penalties.
The loophole had weakened a generally successful helmet law that Vietnam enacted in 2007.
Motorbikes are the main mode of transport in Vietnam, with 24 million of them in a country of 87 million people. The WHO has said that even with the exemption for children, the helmet law has helped to save more than 1,000 lives per year since it was introduced.
Vietnam recorded 13,000 road deaths last year, one of the world’s highest rates per 100,000 with the majority of accidents involving motorbikes.