It is simply impossible to enforce a helmet wearing law if the traffic police do not wear helmets – but that’s all about to change in the capital of Lao PDR, Vientiane, following the supply of 450 helmets in support of road safety initiatives.
The helmets were provided to the Ministry of Public Security’s Traffic Police Department by GRSP through local partner Handicap International as part of the GRSI-2 programme. This will see Vientiane traffic officials become leaders by example on the streets.
Deputy Director of the department, Lieutenant Colonel Khamleck Xayasith said, “Officials need to be setting a good example on the implementation of traffic rules. If officials are not wearing helmets, they are also breaking the regulations, so how can they tell other people what to do? If officials strictly followed the rules, other motorists would follow their good example when it comes to road safety”.
The helmets are to be distributed amongst the nine districts in Vientiane, with the capital still the leading area for road crashes in Laos. According to the department, during April this year, Laos witnessed 693 road crashes, leading to more than 1200 injuries and 119 deaths. Vientiane alone recorded 19 deaths in the month.
The programme is working broadly in Vientiane with a view of expansion, building the capacity of traffic police at check points and working with the youth through schools and universities encouraging peer to peer learning and positive reinforcement of good behaviour.