A senior government official yesterday called on all citizens to respect traffic laws and wear good-quality helmets since traffic deaths mostly involved motorcyclists.
At the “Road Safety Starting From You” campaign launched yesterday at Krous Primary School in Siem Reap province’s Siem Reap city, Transport Minister Sun Chanthol said traffic accidents killed at least five people and injured about 15 people every day, while about $300 million was lost in damages every year.
Mr Chanthol said 77 percent of traffic accidents involved motorcyclists, with 80 percent of those who died not wearing helmets.
“I would like to appeal to all to obey the traffic laws and wear safety helmets while riding motorcycles,” he said. “You must wear it whether it is a 200-metre or 300-metre ride because the traffic accident does not tell us how far we can go, meaning we could have an accident injuring our head in just two or three metres on the bike.”
Mr Chanthol said the ministry and the National Road Safety Committee last year purchased about 100,000 helmets, of which 30,000 have been distributed while the remaining 70,000 will be distributed this year.
“We have to wear good-quality helmets because some will break easily when falling to the ground,” he said.
The ministry also plans to buy one million reflective stickers to distribute to people and students to attach to their vehicles to prevent traffic accidents at night. The ministry has already distributed 3.4 million reflective stickers.Sor Choeun, a Phnom Penh resident, voiced his support of the ministry’s campaign to educate people to respect traffic laws rather than punishing them right way.
“I would like to see a lot of good programmes launched in 25 provinces and the capital, educating people to respect the traffic laws instead of punishing them,” he said.
Run Roth Veasna, director of the Interior Ministry’s Traffic Police Department, yesterday urged police officers to punish traffic violators in accordance with the laws while some officers have mistreated traffic violators by using inappropriate language.
Mr Roth Veasna was quoted on the National Police’s website as saying that at some traffic lights, some police officers wrongly fined motorists while some others took bribes from heavy trucks, violating codes of ethics and making people feel uncomfortable.
“It’s time we punish people equally. Do not just punish the poor while being afraid of luxury cars and cars belonging to high-ranking officials,” he said.
“As the police enforcing the law, we have to understand more clearly about the laws. Do not violate the law and you should also use appropriate words.”
According to a National Police report, the first two months of this year saw 557 traffic accidents, which killed 325 people and injured 407.
It said causes of the accidents included speeding, overtaking, and driving under the influence of alcohol.