Traffic accident casualties in the first nine months of the year have increased by more than double when compared to the same period last year, according to the Interior Ministry’s Department of Traffic Police and Public Order.
A department report issued on Tuesday said that from January until last month, 1,313 people have died, while 3,427 were injured in traffic crashes. During the same period in 2017, 426 people died and 1,216 were injured.
The report added that 2,411 motorbikes, 1,184 cars, 584 trucks and 227 other vehicles were damaged or destroyed in crashes.
Most of the accidents occurred in the provinces of Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kampong Cham, Kampong Speu, Kampong Thom, Kampot, Prey Veng, Preah Vihear and Pursat, it said.
The report said 901 accidents were caused by speeding, 252 by reckless overtaking, 133 due to drunk driving and four due to road conditions.
Ear Chariya, Institute for Road Safety director, told local media that many Cambodians have yet to grasp the importance of traffic rules.
“There are only about 30 percent of road users throughout the country who know and understand traffic laws, signs and the right way to drive,” Mr Chariya said. “Human beings cause traffic accidents and we can solve it through the dissemination of laws, educating motorists and law enforcement.”
Traffic accidents in Cambodia cost the Kingdom about $40 million per year, he added.
Mr Chariya said law enforcement plays a major part in reducing road accidents.
“They [law enforcement] have to apply the law to everyone, even the rich,” he said. “That way our people will be satisfied and comply with traffic laws.”
Mr Chariya said the government must also push civil servants and the armed forces to provide a good example for motorists.
Prime Minister Hun Sen has in the past called on monks to educate motorists to respect traffic laws in order to reduce accidents.
Mr Hun Sen noted the death toll from traffic accidents was higher than war casualties.
In 2017, a total of 1,780 people died in road accidents, while 5,539 were injured.