Road Safety Campaign in Laos Targets Helmet Use Among Young Students

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(Photo: Xinhua)

The European Union delegation to Laos has launched a new campaign aimed at raising awareness and encouraging young Lao students to wear helmets while riding motorcycles. This initiative is in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Laos, local car companies, and the Lao government.

Laos faces a critical issue with road accidents, where many individuals, particularly young children and adults, do not wear helmets, leading to a higher incidence of injuries. Helmets play a crucial role in mitigating the impact of accidents.

The campaign is set to kick off at Tanmixay Secondary School in Xaythany district, Vientiane Capital, on 27 May, with the goal of increasing helmet use among children on the roads.

Press conference about a road safety campaign at the EU delegation in Vientiane on 24 May. (Photo: Keo)

During a press conference about a road safety campaign at the EU delegation in Vientiane on 24 May, European Union (EU) Ambassador to Laos Ina Marciulionyte emphasized that wearing helmets could save lives and prevent serious injuries, particularly among children and adults who are frequently involved in accidents. She noted that several factors contribute to the reluctance to wear helmets, including the perception that short-distance travel does not require a helmet and concerns among some girls about their appearance being affected by helmet use.

To further raise awareness, UNICEF Representative to Laos Pia Rebello Britto highlighted the importance of the campaign in improving road safety among young students across the country. She pointed out that an estimated 3 children per day are injured in road accidents in Laos.

“At least four times a day, [many] children in the country are exposed to traffic: when they go to school in the morning, return home for lunch, come back to school in the afternoon, and then go back home,” said Britto.

The campaign is supported by several local car companies, and efforts are being made to engage motorcycle companies to provide free helmets for children with motorcycle purchases. Additionally, the campaign calls on Lao police to enforce stricter regulations and avoid accepting bribes from those who do not comply with the rules.

Despite these efforts, road safety remains a challenge in Laos, exacerbated by the increasing number of road accidents. In April 2024 alone, Laos witnessed 710 incidents, resulting in 96 fatalities and 1,167 injuries. In 2023, road accidents across Laos claimed 833 lives and severely injured 4,032 people, with a total of 6,182 traffic accidents reported between January and November.