The World Health Organization estimates that road traffic injuries (RTIs) account for approximately 1.2 million deaths annually around the globe, with the majority occurring in low- and middle-income countries. In countries like Cambodia, motorcycles are a common form of transportation. Motorcycle crashes are also the leading source of road traffic fatalities in the country.. However, helmet use in Cambodia remains relatively low, despite the fact that helmet-wearing is a proven injury prevention intervention.

In order to better understand the traffic safety culture in Cambodia, a group of researchers, including JH-IIRU associate director, Abdulgafoor Bachani, recently examined driver and passenger knowledge, attitude and beliefs regarding motorcycle helmets.

Several key findings from the study helped identify barriers to helmet-wearing, including gaps in road safety knowledge and ways to communicate the road safety message more effectively. For example, the study found that there is a need to increase the availability of high-quality, low cost helmets for children, while at the same time addressing the prevailing attitude that children are “too young” to need a helmet. The study also found that many motorcyclists believe helmets are only necessary when driving on highways or high speed motorways.

Results of this study were instrumental in informing the Cambodian Helmet Vaccine Initiative (CHVI) which was established by the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation with support from the FIA Foundation as well as the World Bank, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others.

“Motorcycle Helmet Attitudes, Behaviours and Beliefs Among Cambodians” appears in the International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion.

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