Wearing a helmet saves lives. In fact, a recently published report found that an estimated 500,000 head injuries and 15,000 fatalities have been averted in Vietnam since the introduction of the country’s universal helmet law on December 15, 2007.

Published by the AIP Foundation and FIA Foundation, the report highlights that, across the world, millions of motorcyclists still ride unprotected – and fewer than 50 countries have comprehensive legislation governing use and standards of motorcycle crash helmets.

In the report, Saul Billingsley, Executive Director of FIA Foundation points out, “A key lesson from Vietnam’s decade of achievement since 2007 is this: passing the legislation is only the beginning of the story, the start of the really hard work of implementation.”

For fleets that include drivers and riders of two-wheel vehicles, eDriving Executive Vice President – Fleet Ed Dubens recommends that fleet managers think about their responsibilities in managing motorcyclist safety, including considering a compulsory helmet-wearing policy. Here are five things Dubens says to consider when developing a helmet policy:

Make it clear who the policy applies to and at what times. “If it applies to all employees or all field staff on joining the company, specify this up front,” says Dubens.

Explain the reason for the policy — that millions of people around the world die because of failing to wear a helmet and many more suffer serious injuries. A report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that, in European countries, head injuries contribute to around 75 percent of deaths among motorized two-wheeler users; in some low-income and middle-income countries, the figure is as high as 88 percent.

“Figures like these will help employees sit up and take notice,” says Dubens. “Let them know the policy has one main aim and that’s to protect their life out the road.”

Describe how helmet use is effective at reducing head injuries and fatalities. Dubens adds, “The WHO report explains exactly how helmets help to save lives. In a collision, a helmet does three things; it reduces brain movement, spreads the force of the impact over a greater surface area and acts as a barrier between the skull and the object of impact. Those three things can be lifesavers in a collision.”

Specify everything that is required of employees. “There are many types of helmets out there so make it clear what type employees are expected to purchase and wear,” says Dubens. “For example, must it have a chin guard, visor, reflective strips? What safety standards must it meet? Also provide instructions for replacing a helmet following a collision as well as details of company reimbursement for employees who purchase their own helmet.”

Make it clear who is responsible policy compliance and explain any disciplinary action that may be taken for failure to comply. “Having a policy in place isn’t enough on its own,” Dubens concludes. “Consistent enforcement will really make a difference to the safety of your employees.”