AIP Foundation counts down to passenger helmet law enforcement
9 December, 2015 – Phnom Penh, Cambodia
A new traffic law is set to come into force in the New Year—starting on January 1st, traffic police will start to collect fines for passengers, in addition to drivers, that are caught not wearing a helmet. Across Cambodian televisions, spirits will appear to remind Cambodians to always wear their helmets in a commercial by AIP Foundation.
These spirits are victims of road crash head injuries; they are not meant to scare but instead to protect the public. The spirits stop a family to tell them that failing to wear a helmet while riding a motorbike threatens their lives. The commercial reminds Cambodians to wear a helmet, whether they’re the driver or a passenger, no matter the distance along with spreading the news that "From 1st January 2016, police will fine 15,000 riels for each non-helmeted person." The fine has increased five-fold compared to the previous fine of 3,000 riels for drivers violating the helmet law.
The commercial is part of a campaign supporting the dissemination and implementation of the new Road Traffic Law. The campaign incorporates media, street, and community-based approaches to improve helmet safety in Cambodia. The campaign is part of AIP Foundation’s “Head Safe. Helmet On.” (HSHO) project, which is a two-year project, supported by the United States Agency for International Development, Development Innovation Ventures (USAID-DIV), and others, aimed to increase passenger helmet use in Cambodia.
HSHO project stakeholders gathered to inform the public about the upcoming passenger helmet law enforcement and to kick-off the second year of the behavior change campaign of HSHO. The event brought together approximately 300 attendees including representatives from AIP Foundation’s donors and sponsors, government ministries, the private sector, and the media. Relevant stakeholders, development partners, teachers, students, and parents were also involved in the event. Among the attendees were the H.E Lieutenant General Him Yan, Deputy Commissioner General of the National Police and Senior Representatives from the Secretariat of the National Road Safety Committee. At the event, AIP Foundation presented HSHO mid-term evaluation results and discussed upcoming HSHO activities.
Pagna Kim, AIP Foundation Cambodia Country Director said, “The second phase of the HSHO project will build on the first phase of the campaign. We are reinforcing our commitment to changing community behavior through our media and community-based campaigns.”
“Starting 1 January 2016, police will enforce the law using the new fine sub decree. For the enforcement of the passenger helmet law to be effective, people must be aware of the law. This project has helped to spread the message to the public and, in continuing the work through the next year, will hopefully lead to informed road users,” said H.E Major General Lay Bunthorn, High Representative of General Commissariat of the National Police. He added that, “Besides helmet wearing, necessary respect for the law – from driving responsibly within the speed limit, to not driving under the influence of alcohol – must be maintained by all road users whenever driving, in order to avoid fines and crashes.”
The mid-term survey results revealed that the television commercial during the first phase of the project reached 94% of Cambodia’s population and 88% of targeted communes remembered the campaign message. The results also indicated that respondents had an improved attitude toward helmet use. From August 2014 to August 2015, people surveyed who said they intend to wear helmets as passengers increased from 86% to 98% in target communes and from 90% to 96% in control communes. Through helmet observations, AIP Foundation found that the motorcycle passenger helmet rate increased from 9.9% to 14.2%, while the helmet use rate among child passengers increased from 6% to 17% from August 2014 to May 2015. AIP Foundation will continue to strengthen and sustain local capacity through working with commune-based road safety working groups so that they are able to address road safety issues, especially passenger helmet use.
“I am excited to see positive results after the first year of the HSHO project. Continuing and strengthening previous work to strive towards positive behavior change will prevent road injury and save more lives,” said Mr. Chhoun Voun, Deputy Director General of Transport and Permanent Deputy Secretary General of the National Road Safety Committee.
In the next phase of the HSHO project, AIP Foundation plans to continue working with target schools through training teachers, students, and parents about the importance of passenger helmet use. To further support these efforts, 4,242 helmets will be delivered to all newly enrolled students in 18 target primary schools.
At the launch event, attendees participated in fun road-safety activities and games, a question and answer session, and a forum led by senior officials from the National Road Safety Committee and the National Police to speak about law enforcement to raise awareness as the passenger helmet law enforcement date approaches.