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Traffic deaths rise despite new laws

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
Traffic police investigate the scene of a crash. Mai Vireak

Road deaths rose in the first half of this year despite passage of a new Traffic Law which raised fines for disobeying rules of the road.

The National Road Safety Committee said 919 people died, up 11 from the same period last year.

Ear Chariya, director of the Institute for Road Safety, said it was disappointing to see that the new traffic laws had not had a significant impact in making the roads safer.

“I think that it is a sign to awake the government and authorities to further educate drivers about the rules of the road,” he said.

“This could help avoid further increases in traffic fatalities.”

“It is worrying that deaths have increased when laws have changed and infrastructure has improved,” he added.

“Our citizens don’t have a full understanding of traffic laws and the authorities are careless with its implementation.”

Interior Minister Sar Kheng urged the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications to issue nation-wide SMS alerts to mobile phones reminding citizens to comply with traffic laws.

Prime Minister Hun Sen also weighed in, posting a note on his Facebook page yesterday in which he pleaded with citizens to remain vigilant on the roads.

“With an increase of vehicles on the roads, it has led to injuries and deaths due to careless driving, and people not respecting the traffic law,” Mr Hun Sen said.

“For the safety of everyone, please all citizens respect the traffic law by wearing helmets, and do not drive over the speed limit.”

The National Road Safety Committee report noted that there were 1,883 crashes in the first six months of 2017, an increase of less than 1 percent compared to the same period last year.

But the number of people injured decreased, from 3,264 in the first months of 2016 to 2,982 in the first half of 2017.

The NRSC report also noted that of the 919 deaths in the first half of 2017, 696 were motorbike drivers, of which 82 percent were not wearing helmets.

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.

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