The FIA Foundation has established a strategic partnership with the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation to help improve road safety in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
The partnership sees the FIA Foundation supporting national helmet campaign coalitions in each of the three countries – which together suffer 74 deaths and more than 230 serious injuries every day in road crashes, the majority motorcycle related – through financial, policy and campaigning assistance.
The Asia Injury Prevention Foundation is a US nonprofit organization dedicated to combating the epidemic levels of road accident casualties in South East Asia. In 2000, AIPF launched the Helmets for Kids (HFK) program and has since distributed hundreds of thousands of motorcycle helmets to primary school children in major cities throughout Vietnam, where motorbikes are the main mode of family transport.
In Vietnam, the FIA Foundation will support the latest phase of the AIP Foundation’s National Helmet Wearing Public Awareness Campaign which includes a coalition of private, public, and government sponsors. The campaign has been credited with spurring the Government of Vietnam to accelerate the enactment date of Resolution 32, the country’s new mandatory helmet law. The Campaign’s free outdoor concerts, including doctor and accident survivor interviews, regularly draw more than 10,000 attendees and have attracted tens of millions of viewers during live television broadcasts.
Resolution 32, introduced in December 2007, was an overwhelming success and national helmet usage rates jumped to 99% overnight. Since then, hospitals throughout Vietnam have reported significant decreases in head injuries and road accident fatalities.
The latest phase of the campaign is focused on promoting the importance of child helmets and lobbying the Government of Vietnam to close remaining loopholes in Resolution 32. The FIA Foundation has already helped to secure the support of Archbishop Desmond Tutu for the campaign. In May 2008 the Archbishop wrote to Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung congratulating Vietnam for implementing the helmet law but urging action on the ‘tragic and unnecessary’ problem of children not wearing helmets. The FIA Foundation has also worked with AIPF to raise the profile of the issue through the visit to Vietnam of film star and Make Roads Safe campaign ambassador Michelle Yeoh in March 2008.
In Cambodia and Thailand the FIA Foundation will work with the AIP Foundation in rolling out helmet campaigns and initiatives. The two organisations will also work together on wider road safety advocacy, including promoting road infrastructure safety assessment and the Make Roads Safe campaign, in advance of the first UN Ministerial Conference on global road safety.
AIP Foundation President, Greig Craft, said: "The FIA Foundation’s international credibility and proven track record, combined with AIP Foundations' innovative and proactive initiatives, will result in a dynamic team able to more rapidly educate policy makers and the general public, while implementing proven interventions to making roads safe".
FIA Foundation Deputy Director Saul Billingsley said: “The Asia Injury Prevention Foundation is hugely effective, in its advocacy with policymakers and the media, in its innovative approach to getting helmets on heads, and in its partnerships with the public and private sectors on its Helmets for Kids programme and its agenda setting awareness campaigns. The FIA Foundation is delighted to have this opportunity to work alongside the AIP Foundation in expanding these road safety operations in South East Asia”.
For the FIA Foundation this partnership is the latest in a series of initiatives supporting motorcycle safety, which have included financial support to the World Health Organization’s Helmet Initiative, funding research on motorcycle safety in Malaysia by John Hopkins University and University Putra Malaysia, and support for advanced helmet safety design conducted by Phillips Helmets and the UK Transport Research Laboratory.