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Crackdown targets drunken drivers

TRAFFIC police are set to establish 25 checkpoints in Phnom Penh and two provinces this week targeting drunk drivers and motorbike drivers riding without helmets, officials said yesterday.

Luy Chhin, chief of the Interior Ministry’s Land Traffic Police, said yesterday that starting on September 1 officers would man checkpoints in the capital and Kandal and Kampong Speu provinces. The initiative was set for August but has been pushed back as officers complete training and wait to receive breath analysers from donors.

“We are still waiting for Breathalyzers, but the implementation of the plan will begin on September 1,” he said.

A plan signed by National Police chief Neth Savoeun and dated August 9 states that the checkpoints will operate from 6.30pm to 11pm for three months. At the end of the year, officials will evaluate the effectiveness of the checkpoints, which are expected to eventually be set up in other provinces.

The Land Traffic Law calls for fines ranging between 6,000 riels and 25,000 riels (about US$1.50 and $6) for drunken driving, depending on vehicle type.

According to an amendment introduced last year, helmetless motorbike drivers face fines of 3,000 riels.

The Road Crash and Victim Information System, which collects data from traffic police and health facilities, recorded 12,538 crashes last year, resulting in 21,519 casualties. Of those casualties, 2,353 are believed to have been caused by drunken driving.

Chev Hak, deputy chief of the municipal traffic police, said yesterday that the three areas selected for the first phase of nighttime checkpoints were “the most dangerous traffic accident places”.

Police from all three areas participated in a four-day training session last week that emphasised the proper use of breath analysers and strategies for selecting checkpoint locations, Luy Chhin said.

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