Chonburi, AIG team up to promote youth helmet use

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Chonburi, public-safety groups, and the AIG Thailand insurance group are teaming up with parents to make their children wear helmets while riding on motorbikes.

Gov. Khomsan Ekachai joined Tommy Ladwa-Kitkola, executive president of AIG Thailand Group, Chonburi police, the Thai Health Foundation and members of a local helmet-promotion group to kick off the campaign May 29.

As part of the effort, AIG donated 2,000 children’s helmets.

Helmet group director Taejing Siripanich said parents should treat motorbike helmets the same as vaccines. It’s not up to the child whether to wear one or not, as its vital for their health.

Participants in the project don helmets and ride off after the speeches concluded.Participants in the project don helmets and ride off after the speeches concluded.

Ladwa-Kitkola said the helmet program is part of AIG’s three-pronged corporate-responsibility campaign. He estimated 2.1 million children in Thailand ride motorbikes. Supplying helmets for them all would cost 3 billion baht.

Khomsan noted that motorbikes are especially popular in Chonburi as methods for parents to shuttle their children to school. He said many don’t make their kids wear helmets because they believe they’re not necessary for short distances.

He said, however, that parents are misunderstanding the risk and that accidents can occur at any time.

Non-use of helmets can be punishable by fines and even jail time. But he admitted that police rarely prosecute to this extent. Therefore, he said, educating parents on the need for helmets is a top priority.