Sadly, it isn’t strange anymore to hear that there was a car crash or a motorbike accident. It’s estimated that over 4 people die every-day because of traffic accidents.
Most traffic-related fatalities involve young Cambodians between 20 and 24 years of age, according to Handicap International Belgium.
Sem Panhavuth, our youth of the week and monitor at Handicap International, explained that most fatalities result from head injury, as motorbike drivers aren’t wearing helmets on the road.
A number of driving schools are opening up across Cambodia, but business isn’t too successful. Traffic accidents are on the rise.
Oung Sovannary, a third-year student at Institute of Foreign Languages, said that she always surfs the net to educate herself on traffic information. “I want to be not just a good resident but also a good driver,” she said, “so I’ll avoid any traffic accidents.”
Her friends, on the other hand, don’t seem to pay any attention to the issue. “It’s not good that they don’t care about traffic signs or traffic rules. It makes it seem as if they don’t care about their own lives,” she said.
Sambath Dany, a receptionist at the 23 October Driving School in Phnom Penh, said that she hasn’t been aware of any bribery or corruption in the process of getting a valid driver’s license.
“There is no copying and cheating during the exam, because there are many cameras in the exam room,” she said.
She added that the school is now offering free tutorials on traffic law, free to the public Monday through Friday, in order to raise awareness for dangerous driving and help reduce the number of traffic accidents.
Phim Sokhorn, who works as a traffic policeman, said that people don’t respect traffic laws because they have a weak understanding of what the rules actually are. Violations might not be intentional.
He added that although those who are able to get a driver’s license might be able to get from place to place, they still don’t know the rules regarding stoplights and traffic signs.
“I not only fine [violators], but I also educate them on traffic laws,” he said.
“I think young Cambodians or any others who wear a helmet won’t face such dangerous situations in traffic. There’s no reason to care more about your hair style than your life.”