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Helmet use for children low despite Traffic Law

A family rides on a motorbike without helmets on Phnom Penh's Sisowath Quay last year.
A family rides on a motorbike without helmets on Phnom Penh's Sisowath Quay last year. Hong Menea

Helmet use for children low despite Traffic Law

Research by the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIPF) found helmet use by child motorbike passengers was still low in January despite the government’s much-touted Traffic Law, with observers blaming poor enforcement.

AIPF president Kim Pagna said yesterday that the organisation set up cameras for two hours a day in Kampong Speu, Phnom Penh and Kandal to monitor helmet use in January and determine whether the implementation of the Traffic Law impacted passenger behaviour.

They found that just 29 per cent of children riding pillion were wearing helmets. Pagna said AIPF was concerned by the numbers, despite them being up from 13 per cent in November 2015.

Ear Chariya, director of the Institute for Road Safety, similarly acknowledged there had been a rise in helmet use following the introduction of the Traffic Law, but lamented that it had not been greater.

“I saw some progress, but the progress is slow and the rate is still low,” Chariya said.“In Cambodia, the chances [of getting fined] are less than 30 per cent. In Vietnam, the chances are more than 90 per cent. Their enforcement is strict and consistent. In our country fines are seasonal.”

Under the new Traffic Law, children aged 3 to 14 are not subject to fines for not wearing helmets, something some advocates would like to see changed. But Ministry of Interior deputy director of internal security Long Thu said the ministry was focusing on awareness rather than enforcement.

“We don’t fine the kids yet. We use education as the main means for now,” Thu said.

This article has been updated to include the following clarification: children aged 3 to 14 are not subject to fines for not wearing a helmet under the new traffic law. A previous version of this article also misspelled the name of the president of AIPF. The president's name is Kim Pagna, not Kim Phana. The Post apologises for any confusion caused.

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