The Transport Ministry yesterday launched the Kingdom’s first-ever heavy truck driving centre in a bid to reduce accidents involving heavy vehicles.
The training centre, headed by the ministry’s General Department of Land Transport, offers a course that includes 30 theoretical lessons and 20 hours of practical driving.
Chhoun Von, director of the General Department of Land Transport, said the training will help reduce traffic accidents.
“The launch of this heavy truck driving centre is an important initiative by the Transport Minister toward reducing the number of traffic accidents,” he said. “The idea was mooted by Thai cement company SCG, which had invited department officers to visit its heavy truck training centre in Thailand.”
“The company is providing technical support for our centre and also helping to train instructors,” Mr Von noted.
He said that there are about 226,000 heavy trucks registered with the department, but only about 134,000 drivers have licences required to drive heavy vehicles.
Mr Von said the Transport Ministry consulted with SCG and other private companies, including GIZ Cambodia, Cambodia Maritime Service and Kamtranship, for technical assistance related to setting up the centre.
Transport Minister Sun Chanthol said yesterday that heavy trucks are a major cause of traffic accidents.
“Heavy trucks such as container trucks and soil trucks are the main causes of traffic accidents that result in a large number of fatalities,” he said. “We lack experienced truck drivers so the ministry decided to cooperate with the private sector to set up the heavy truck training centre.”
“On October 5 and 6, the ministry conducted checks on several heavy trucks plying the roads and found that 25 percent of drivers did not have the proper licence needed to drive the vehicles, while ten percent did have any licence,” he added.
Mr Chanthol said that in order to boost registration at the centre, strict enforcement will be taken to discourage people from driving heavy trucks without a proper licence.
“Everyone should join hands with the government to cut down on traffic accidents by following the laws,” he said. “Private companies should make sure that their drivers are properly trained, have the required driving licence and refrain from driving under the influence of alcohol.”
Mr Chanthol noted that traffic accidents cost Cambodia, in terms of damage to national and private assets, about $350 million per year.
Registration is now open to students who are at least 24 years old and have a valid car driving licence.