“Low quality and fake helmets are everywhere on the Vietnamese market,” Dr. Smith said, adding that the World Health Organization found 80 percent of helmets to be substandard in some regions.
Smith will consult with the National Traffic Safety Committee on ways to eliminate the inferior headgear.
“Buyers of these helmets may not understand that wearing such unqualified products is extremely dangerous, or they may simply be trying to avoid being fined,” Dr. Smith said.
“No matter the reason, these people are not adequately protecting themselves or their children.”
Dr. Smith has served as technical adviser for several international agencies on helmet design and head injury biomechanics. He also has helped establish helmet testing facilities in Canada, the United States, Thailand, and Vietnam, and has recently worked with the Global Helmet Vaccine Initiative to introduce new helmet standards in Uganda and Tanzania.
“Based on Dr. Smith’s experience, we are eager to meet with him about our plans to ensure that all helmets produced, bought, and sold in Vietnam are of high and standardized quality,” said Mr. Nguyen Hoang Hiep, safety committee vice chairman.
He added that motorcycles represent 95 percent of all vehicles in the country.
“Vietnam is proud to be one of the few countries in the world with a helmet standard specifically developed for the environment and climate of Vietnam, and specifically developed to include child helmets,” Hiep said.
After Hanoi, Dr. Smith will travel to Ho Chi Minh City and stay until June 17.