Publications

Helmet Day: Lessons Learned on Vietnam's Road to Healthy Behavior

McDonnell, Mary B., Tran, Van and McCoy, Nina

When the American War ended in 1975, the Vietnamese began the difficult task of reuniting their nation. The Doi Moi reform process launched in 1986 has led to rapid urbanization and socio-economic development. By the mid 1990s, Vietnam's economy was booming, with most people switching with staggering speed from bicycle to motorcycle use. In urban areas, automobile numbers also burgeoned in response to economic growth. Vietnam seemed to be making a change to motorized vehicles more rapidly than any other country in the world.

With motorization came traffic incidents, and with traffic incidents came preventable motorcycle injuries and deaths. The need to change behavior - to somehow get Vietnamese of all ages to wear motorcycle helmets - was clear.

Motorcycle helmets became mandatory in Vietnam on December 15, 2007. When residents and visitors stepped outside that Saturday, they faced a beautiful, colorful sea of helmets on the heads of the adults and children riding by.

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