Substandard motorbike helmets are being produced in HCM City under the guise of sports headgear to get around new laws on motorbike helmets, the municipal Market Watch Division has said.
HCM CITY —
However, ministries are aware that sports helmet makers have created a loophole in the regulation and are understood to have turned their attention to sports helmet makers and retailers.
The new sports helmets were being produced in three layers, as required under regulations due to come into force soon, said Ly Ngoc Thang, an officer of HCM City Market Watch Division. But they were being made of flimsy plastic and other substandard materials.
But because they were branded "sports helmets" they were not covered by any law. It was not illegal to make and sell them so authorities had no right to seize them, the officer said.
They were designed to look exactly like the new legal motorbike helmets and were being sold, bought and worn as motorcycle helmets.
They were being sold at half the price of regulation helmets.
Nguyen Dong Ha, a helmet seller on Tan Binh District's Truong Chinh Street. said the previous two-layer helmets and hat-shaped helmets were no longer popular because customers were aware of the prending regulation changes.
Nguyen Hoang Linh, deputy head of the Standardisation Department under the Directorate of Standards, Metrology and Quality, said the new regulation was jointly drafted by the ministries of Science and Technology, Industry and Trade, Transport, and Public Security to get rid of unsafe one or two-layer helmets and hat-shaped helmets which were as flimsy as eggshells.
The regulation required manufacturers to be licensed and authorities to check their production. If they failed to meet requirements, they could be shut down or brought to the court.
Traders must also have a licence and have contracts with manufacturers and importers to enable authorities to trace the origins of the helmets they sell, and conformity to regulations.
Motorcyclists wearing anything except authorised helmets with three layers would face fines of up to VND200,000 (US$10).
Thang said people bought the cheapest version because they saw helmets not as protection but as a way to avoid punishment.
Linh said the issue of sports helmet issue would be considered before the ministries officially released a circular on the new regulations.
He added that motorcyclists were subject to fines mainly to raise their awareness about using proper helmets to protect themselves.
The new regulation was aimed at cutting back on the 12,000 road deaths in Viet Nam each year, he said. — VNS