Thailand Accident Research Center

Does Law Enforcement Awareness Affect Motorcycle Helmet Use? Evidence from Urban Cities in Thailand

Journal:  the Global Health Promotion, Vol.20, Issue 3, September 2013
Authors:  Jiwattanakulpaisarn, P., Kanitpong, K., Ponboon, S., Boontob, N., Aniwattakulchai, P., and Samranjit, S.
Year:  2013


Although helmet use has been compulsory for motorcycle drivers and passengers in Thailand since the enactment of the Helmet Act in 1994, recent surveys show that the prevalence of helmet usage remains low, particularly among passengers. This paper has sought to explore motorcyclists’ awareness of helmet law enforcement in Thailand and examine whether it affects their helmet use behaviour. A total of 2,429 drivers and 1,328 passengers in urban cities nationwide were interviewed in 2009, and the data were analysed using a multivariate ordered logit regression technique. About 60% of the drivers and only 28% of the passengers reported that they always wore a motorcycle helmet. Apart from basic demographics (i.e. age and gender) and riding frequency, our analysis reveals that the awareness of helmet law enforcement was among the contributing factors influencing the use of motorcycle helmets in Thailand. Regardless of riding position, the prevalence of helmet use tended to be greater among those frequently observing the police’s checkpoints for helmet wearing and those perceiving the high risk of being caught for non-helmet use. However, the use of helmets appeared to be lower among drivers who perceived the checkpoints to take place at the same times and locations, which were likely predicted. For motorcycle passengers, it was found that the low prevalence of helmet use was potentially attributable to the absence of knowledge on the compulsory helmet law for passengers and the perception that the law was not enforced by the police. Thus, if motorcycle helmet use in Thailand is to be increased, considerable efforts need to be given to increasing the perceived risk of apprehension for non-helmet use (e.g. more police presence and random scheduling of enforcement activities), improving the awareness of the existing helmet law for passengers, and ensuring that helmet wearing by passengers is more strictly enforced. (Global Health Promotion, 2013; 20(3): 14–24)