Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Helmet advocates urge safety legislation

Mirjam Sidik, CEO of AIP Foundation, speaks at the media launch
Motorcycle helmet safety campaigners in Cambodia have urged the government to pass a new passenger helmet law to protect all motorbike users, including children.
At a media launch in Phnom Penh on 10th January 2013, Mirjam Sidik, CEO of the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation, called for urgent action to finalise a new law which would enable the police to enforce helmet use by all. A revision of traffic regulations – which would expand mandatory helmet use to adult and child passengers – is under review by the Council of Ministers.
"The prevention of fatal and costly road crashes is a matter for all of us to tackle," said Mirjam Sidik."Passengers are as much at risk of suffering the consequences of not wearing a helmet as drivers. Together we appeal directly to the government for swift enactment of the draft law, an action which is supported by 98% of the Cambodian public."

H.E. Tram Iv Toek, Cambodia's transport and road safety minister

Responding, H.E Tram Iv Toek, Minister of Public Works and Transport and Chairman of the National Road Safety Committee, said he hoped the new law could be finalised and approved within months. "Non-helmeted motorcyclists are more than four times as likely to suffer fatal head injuries in case of a crash. It is our priority that all Cambodians truly understand the importance of helmets and safe road behavior, even on short rides and regardless of age", the minister said.  
The event was supported by the FIA Foundation. Saul Billingsley, the FIA Foundation's deputy director, participated in the press conference and said: "To build on the country’s accomplishments of the past few years, the Cambodian government and stakeholders across sectors have the responsibility to take action. Passing comprehensive legislation will send the message that Cambodia is serious about road safety."

The minister was presented with a joint statement signed by 24 stakeholders from the private sector, civil society, and ithe nternational community appealing to the government to pass the comprehensive legislation; the media to promote helmet use and safe road behavior through all mediums; the private sector to develop internal policy to encourage their staff to respect traffic laws; and motorcyclists to wear helmets and share the message with their families. Other stakeholders active in road safety in the country will also be encouraged to join this effort over the coming months.

In the next phase of activities, AIP Foundation will expand its public awareness campaign encouraging passenger helmet use on television, radio, billboards, and print. The initiative is supported by the FIA Foundation, amongst other donors, including through a grant via the Road Safety Fund.

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