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Hefty traffic fines from May 1

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
Traffic police direct traffic in the capital. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The National Road Safety Committee will be implementing the amendments in the Traffic Law, which mandates increased fines for traffic violators, starting May.

In a statement on Friday, Interior Minister and NRSC head Sar Kheng expressed appreciation toward motorists and traffic officials who have participated in the enforcement of the Road Traffic Law. However, he said due to the high number of traffic accidents in the Kingdom, stricter enforcement of traffic laws must be observed.

“Therefore, the committee would like to inform motorists starting Friday, May 1, the traffic police will issue the newly approved fines against motorists who violate the Road Traffic Law,” he said, noting prompt observance of the laws must be done to protect the motorists’ lives.

On March 17, the government issued a new sub-decree which saw the increase in the severity of punishments and fines by three or fivefold in a bid to reduce traffic accidents in the Kingdom.

The fines range from $15 to $1,000 for violations such as riding without safety helmets, disobeying traffic lights, using a mobile phone while driving and driving under the influence of alcohol.

A police roadblock to control traffic in Phnom Penh. KT/ Siv Channa

Kong Ratanak, director of the Institute for Road Safety, said yesterday the increase in traffic fines is a good mechanism to change the behaviour of stubborn motorists. “For me, I support the implementation of this law because our target is to reduce traffic accidents,” he said.

“But we are concerned about the criticism that may follow as the people grapple with the loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Increased fines in the time of a pandemic may not be received well by the people,” he added.

In line with this, Mr Ratanak asked the national committee to postpone the implementation of the new fines until the health crisis is abated. He said this period should instead be taken as an opportunity to further disseminate the amendments to the public.

“If we look at the figure of daily traffic fatalities, it has not declined much. An average of five to six motorists still die daily. However, due to the global pandemic, I think it will be better to postpone the implementation of the new fines,” he said.

A report by the National Road Safety Committee revealed traffic accidents last year have increased by 854 cases, or 26 percent, resulting in 220 more deaths, or 12 percent, compared to the previous year. Speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, overtaking and lack of vehicle maintenance were identified as the main causes of the accidents.

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