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Truck drivers under fire

Sen David / Khmer Times Share:
KT/Chor Sokunthea

Interior Minister Sar Kheng yesterday called on owners of transportation companies to conduct a drug test on all potential drivers before they are hired.

Mr Kheng said drug tests must be conducted in order to reduce the amount of traffic accidents on the Kingdom’s roads. The call was made during a speech on road safety in Tboung Khmum province yesterday.

Mr Kheng said the companies must conduct drug tests because those who drive under the influence of drugs could cause an accident.

“All transportation companies must pay attention to the performance of drivers – and think about the safety of those in society as a whole – and not worry about the company’s self-interests,” he said. “Drivers must think of the lives of others who travel on the road.”

Mr Kheng said traffic accidents in Cambodia on average kill five people per day. He said that the causes include speeding, disregarding traffic rules and driving under the influence.

“I monitor the news every day and they keep showing the number of traffic accidents that has not decreased,” Mr Kheng said. “The number of vehicles has increased, which should be taken into consideration. We must find solutions to minimise traffic accidents.”

He added that drivers must respect traffic laws and be cautious when travelling on the road. Mr Kheng said drivers must tolerate each other and work with one another to reduce road accidents.

Sam Vichet, a service assistant with Rith Mony Bus Company, yesterday said the company has 100 drivers and that they are tested for drugs on a monthly basis.

“Every month, we check our drivers to see whether they are drug addicts or not,” Mr Vichet said. “If we find that someone is an addict, then we will not allow them to work for us any longer.”

“We are afraid that they will cause a traffic accident,” he added.

Mr Vichet noted that his company regularly disseminates traffic laws, conducts license inspections and tells drivers not to consume alcohol or drugs.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng made the call during a road safety event yesterday in Tboung Khmum province. KT/Chor Sokunthea

“Aside from checking for drug addicts, we are also checking to see whether drivers are drunk,” he said. “The company ensures the safety of our guests. We want our guests to have confidence in our company.”

Kong Ratanak, deputy director of the Road Safety Institute, said it is a good idea to conduct checks on all company drivers.

“Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is dangerous – it makes it easy to get into an accident,” Mr Ratanak said. “Passengers depend on drivers. Five people dying per day because of traffic accidents is not something we can accept. It is a tragedy.”

Ken Satha, Kep provincial governor, said most traffic accidents occur on roads from the capital to the provinces.

Mr Satha said the rate of traffic accidents has been concerning because accidents damage property, affect the economy and cause citizens to become orphans and widows.

He said that in order to reduce the rate, provincial authorities are tasked with monitoring roads and disseminating information to drivers.

“Provincial authorities strengthen law enforcement along roads by monitoring vehicles and educating drivers on traffic laws,” Mr Satha said.

According to Kampong Cham provincial officials, last year they checked 187 vehicles and found that 36 tested positive for drugs.

Major General Em Kosal, chief of Kampong Cham provincial police, on Monday said provincial officials hold regular meetings with other local officials in order to reduce accidents.

“We had a meeting to talk about safety in communes and villages,” Maj Gen Kosal said. “We also check drivers who travel on roads.”

According to the National Road Safety Committee, 1,076 traffic accidents occurred across the Kingdom during the first three months of this year. It said that the accidents resulted in 513 deaths and 1,592 others injured.

It noted that last year, 1,761 people were killed and 4,771 people were injured in traffic accidents throughout the Kingdom.

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