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Ban on unsafe helmets from Saturday

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2008 at 11:51 am

Customers at a helmet stall in HCM City.— VNA/VNS photo Hoang Hai

HA NOI — Beginning from this Saturday, motorbike helmets must comply with technical standards or they will be barred.

Under a new regulation, helmet producers and importers will not be allowed to deliver their products to market without a safety certifice.

Helmets that met standards would receive a three-year certification and a “CR” stamp, said the deputy head of the Directorate for Standards and Quality (Stameq), Vu Van Dien, at a conference in Ha Noi yesterday.

Previously, domestic helmet manufacturers tested their own products and announced their conformity to receive a stamp, while imported products were inspected for quality and given a stamp stating they had been checked.

The new CR stamp, however, is only issued to products that have been tested by one of the five certifying organisations.

So far, the following organ-isations have been authorised to inspect helmets and issue the certification: Quality Assurance and Testing Centres 1, 2 and 3; the Viet Nam Certification Centre; and the Bureau of Quality Certification.

Helmets already on the market that carry the CS or “checked” stamps would continue to be sold, Dien said, but new products would only be allowed to enter the market if they carry the CR stamp.

Dien said there were 82 helmet manufacturing enterprises nationwide, of which 51 had registered a self-assessment of conformity with regulations.

“There are 67 helmet importers in the country. The imported helmets will have to meet national standards,” said Dien.

For apearances

A survey conducted by the Viet Nam Consumer Protection Association showed that 60 per cent of people surveyed said they wore helmets for safety, while the rest said they only wore them to prevent being stopped by police.

Many respondents said they were more concerned with the helmet’s appearance than its safety.

“We have discovered that many kinds of helmet carry the CS stamp but don’t meet safety standards,” said association vice president, Ho Tat Thang.

Regulators are taking a particularly close look at these so-called “fashionable” helmets that look like caps, saying that marketers of this type of helmet would have to prove that their design and quality ensured the safety of consumers.

“If they do, we will grant them certification,” said Stameq general director Ngo Quy Viet

“This kind of helmet has already received the CS stamp, so I don’t know why it can’t receive the CR stamp,” said the director of the Duc Minh Co Ltd, which makes the helmets.

“There are tens of thousands of ‘fashionable’ helmets in the stores and on the market already, worth VND100,000 (US$6) each. Who will help us prove their safety so they can receive the CR stamp?”

To assure helmet quality and prevent illegal or counterfeit helmets from hitting the market, Viet said relevant sectors would closely co-ordinate to inspect domestic producers and importers for compliance.

He said there would also be an expansion of consumer-education campaigns that warn the public about poor quality helmets.

Thang said the new regulations were right, adding only the overlap period during which helmets bearing the CS stamp could continue to be sold would cause uncertainty for consumers. —

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