Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Crashes fall, fatalities level out

Crashes fall, fatalities level out

Crashes fall, fatalities level out

ROAD collisions decreased nationwide in the first six months of this year compared with the same period last year as a result of stricter traffic law enforcement, though fatalities stayed level and compliance with the helmet requirement was low, an official said yesterday.

Preap Chanvibol, director of the Land Transport Department at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said figures released this week from the Interior Ministry’s Department of Public Order – which collates road accident data from police reports – showed a 7 percent decrease in the number of collisions between January and June of this year and the same period last year, with totals dropping from 3,257 to 3,040.

But the number of fatalities fell by just three, from 934 to 931, he said.

He added that compliance with an amendment to the Land Traffic Law requiring motorbike drivers to wear helmets had not increased sufficiently, particularly in the provinces.

The amendment, implemented in January 2009, introduced a fine of 3,000 riels for helmetless motorbike drivers.

“In Phnom Penh, around 72 percent of people wear helmets, while in the provinces only 46 percent of people comply with the helmet rule,” he said.
“Traffic police have to strengthen law enforcement on this point to reach 100 percent implementation from 2010 on.”

Preap Chanvibol said officials would continue to emphasise the importance of nighttime traffic policing – which was increased early this year – in an attempt to bolster compliance with the helmet law.

“More people do not like to wear helmets at night when they know that traffic police are not working,” he said.

Sem Panhavuth, project manager for the Road Crash and Victim Information System (RCVIS), which collects data from traffic police and health facilities, said figures for the first six months of this year and last year were not available, but noted that RCVIS often records higher numbers of accidents and fatalities than those documented by the Interior Ministry.

“Sometimes the police are not involved, and traffic accident victims go straight to the hospital,” he said.

He noted, though, that RCVIS figures for the first three months of this year had also shown virtually no change in fatalities – 493 this year compared with 492 last year – despite a dramatic drop in the number of total crash casualties, which fell 32 percent from 6,732 to 4,662.

He said the number of traffic collision casualties had been in decline since the introduction of the Land Traffic Law in 2007, and that he expects to see the trend continue as enforcement of the law is strengthened.

“In 2009 the number of casualties had decreased since the previous year,” he said. “If traffic police continue to enforce the law, I think fatalities will decrease.”

He also reiterated long-standing calls from road traffic activists for the government to focus on increasing helmet use. According to RCVIS
statistics released earlier this year, motorbike crashes accounted for around 70 percent of traffic fatalities last year, and 80 percent of the dead
succumbed to head injuries.

Officials at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport said last month that they had finalised a draft of amendments to the Land Traffic Law that includes a proposal to raise helmet fines to 21,000 riels (about $5).

On Thursday, however, Preap Chanvibol said the draft ammendments had not been sent to the Council of Ministers for approval, as the details were again being discussed.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all