Two people died and more than 20 were injured on Sunday afternoon when the flatbed truck transporting them to Phnom Chiso careered off the road and rolled into a ditch in Takeo province.
Samrong district police Chief Moeurng Sarun yesterday said his preliminary investigation has revealed that the driver – who fled the scene – likely fell asleep at the wheel.
“We suspect the driver was sleepy and that’s why he veered off the road and into the ditch,” said Mr Sarun. “When we asked the injured what happened, they said the driver did not drink alcohol, but woke up too early in the morning and was probably sleepy.”
Mr Sarun said two women died immediately due to being crushed by the rolling truck. More than 20 others suffered various injures, none life threatening, he added.
Mr Sarun said the group hired the flatbed truck to take them to a ceremony in Takeo province and were on the way back to their hometown of Kampot province when the accident occurred prior to them making a brief stop at Phnom Chisor.
“All the travellers are from Kampot province’s Kampong Tralach district,” he said, noting the driver is also from the same district.
Mr Sarun said he is not concerned about tracking down the driver to bring him to justice because everyone knows his identity and where he lives in the district.
“We took the truck to keep at our police station and we are preparing a report for the court to take action according to the law,” he said.
In the first half of this year, 919 people died on the country’s roads, up from 908 in the first six months of 2016, according to a recent National Road Safety Committee report.
The committee report also said there were 1,883 crashes in the first six months of 2017, an increase of less than one percent compared to the same period last year.
But the number of people injured decreased, from 3,264 in the first six months of 2016 to 2,982 in the first half of this year.
The report added that 36 percent of crashes were caused by speeding and 11 percent by drunk driving. The remainder could be attributed to disobeying rules of the road.