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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Common sense more important than the law for traffic safety

A police officer takes over after an accident between a car and a motorbike.
A police officer takes over after an accident between a car and a motorbike. HENG CHIVOAN

Common sense more important than the law for traffic safety

Traffic laws and police alone cannot ensure safe driving. An appeal to people’s common sense and consideration has to be made because it is stupid and risky behaviour that leads to the many deaths on Cambodia’s roads. Sadly it seems that many, especially young men, drive themselves and others to death. Who cannot picture the image of three drunken boys without helmets speeding down a Phnom Penh boulevard at night treating other road users like obstacles in a giant slalom?

While there has been reinforcement of traffic laws, specifically in Phnom Penh (at least during daytime), and a great number of citizens have grown cautious about wearing helmets, respecting traffic lights and signs; a considerable number of youths, most young men, make traffic increasingly dangerous. They not only show a lack of consideration and respect but also a great deal of plain stupidity.

Police direct traffic after a truck tipped over.
Police direct traffic after a truck tipped over. SO VISAL

Tim Sophin, leader of a police team stationed at theLux Cinema traffic lights, says that “Based on my daily observations, young people don’t respect the no-enter sign, even when they clearly see it. Worse than this, they don’t change their behaviour after being educated by police and even insult us.”

Tep Sreylis, a Khmer literature student, says: “I have seen some young people not respecting the traffic law. After seeing traffic signs or lights they still go through. When they are stopped by police they don’t pay attention to what the officers say. I have heard them curse the police and seen them kick police motorbikes and even throw cash to pay fines, which I don’t think is moral at all.”

Khan Chenda, lecturer on English literature and negotiation skills, says: “Because Cambodia has more youths than people in other age groups, we have to pay a great deal of attention to what these young people are doing. In this respect, if our young people have strong morals and know how to conduct themselves in traffic, then our society will improve. ”

Sorphin gives some advice in conclusion.

“I suggest that all citizens respect our traffic laws and stick to morality and mutual understanding while driving in order to reduce traffic accidents and to ease traffic congestion.”

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