Chiang Mai’s Maejo University (MJU) has earned praise as a model educational institute for succeeding in getting all of its motorcycle-riding students to wear safety helmets.
MJU Division of Student Affairs director Sukij Tidchai said the school had to confront the cold statistic of an average of 10 students dying yearly in road accidents. Most were riding motorcycles without a helmet. Others died because they ignored other traffic regulations.
So the university launched a safety campaign that included raising awareness and strictly enforcing traffic regulations.
It imposed four rules. Motorcycle riders not wearing a helmet couldn’t enter the school grounds. Everyone on a motorcycle had to wear a helmet on roads within the campus. Failure to do so resulted in 10 disciplinary points being deducted, and if the score fell 40 points, the student was suspended from classes and disciplinary punishment was initiated.
The campaign ended up boosting helmet use from 30 per cent in 2012 to 100 per cent last year.
In 2012 there were 11 road-accident deaths and 694 injuries among students and school personnel. Last year there were three deaths and 54 injuries, Sukij said.
The success prompted the university to expand the campaign to neighbouring communities, he added.
Rungrawin Kengkaj and Teerachai Yenjai, both freshmen in the Faculty of Agricultural Production, said they welcomed the helmet rules because they improved safety and were easy enough to abide by.
“Once you make it a habit, you just automatically do it, not only around the campus but outside as well,” Rungrawin said.