With the Khmer New Year arriving at the end of this week, senior government officials have called for motorists to be extra careful on the roads during the holiday.
Presiding over a National Road Safety Week event on Friday, Interior Minister Sar Kheng said he has noticed that the frequency of traffic accidents increased during major holidays, especially during Khmer New Year.
“In order to prevent and reduce traffic accidents during Khmer New Year, which will be from April 14 to 16, I want to call on road users to respect and follow the recommendation of the Prime Minister who said that ‘today and tomorrow do not have traffic accidents’ and really pay attention to the Traffic Law,” he said.
Mr Kheng added that the law was easy to practice and understand.
“I want everyone to be careful when travelling along the roads. Wear a helmet and seat belt, do not drive fast and do not drive drunk. Traffic police officials will be very strict on these issues by advising people if they don’t follow the Traffic Law,” he said.
Mr Kheng said he was worried about Khmer New Year because the weather would be hot and people would be drinking alcohol when they really needed to be drinking water.
“Our country will be hot during the New Year and everyone needs water but they prefer alcohol, beer and wine,” he said, requesting people not to use violence in the event of a traffic accident, and seek help from police or authorities.
“We are Buddhist so we have to refrain from anger and avoid violence,” he said.
During the five days of Khmer New Year in 2017, 55 people were killed and 226 were injured, 126 of which were seriously hurt. The Interior Ministry’s public order department reported that speeding, drink-driving and dangerous overtaking were the main causes of accidents.
According to another Interior Ministry report, 480 people were killed and 1,234 were injured in traffic accidents in the first three months of 2018, a decline from the same period in 2017 when 468 people died and 1,000 were injured.
Meanwhile, Phnom Penh Governor Khuong Sreng also warned people to be cautious on the roads driving during the Khmer New Year and noted some activities that people were banned from participating in.
He said people must respect the Traffic Law and not drive when drunk in order to minimise the chance of an accident from occurring.
“Everyone can participate in all kinds of traditional games, but they cannot play some games that are not traditional such as splashing water and powder on each other or using something to throw at or hit passengers,” Mr Sreng said, adding that people were also prohibited from playing cards and burning fireworks or firecrackers.