Two died and 17 were injured when a truck transporting garment workers crashed into a parked lorry on Saturday morning in Prey Veng province.
Leang Pheap, 23, who was driving the bus, was killed in the 5:30am collision. Chak Lin, 17, a garment worker, also perished at the scene, according to Pea Reang district police chief Sim Kosal. Six passengers remain in critical condition, he said.
“Speeding and reckless driving are to blame for the accident,” said Kosal.
Kosal said that police found no licence on the deceased driver, “although his family said he had one”.
The bus was trucking workers from their homes to the 7NG Special Economic Zone in Kandal province.
The fatal crash is the latest in a string of deadly auto accidents involving garment workers. Last month, five workers, including one who was pregnant, were killed and 68 injured when their overloaded truck plunged into a ditch in Kampong Speu province.
In May of last year, 18 passengers were killed and over a dozen injured when their minivan packed with 39 people, most of them garment workers, was struck head-on by a bus in Svay Rieng province.
Addressing the spate of accidents, the National Social Security Fund announced plans to provide truck drivers with road safety education last month, with the aim of having them licensed by the end of 2016.
While much criticism has been placed on unskilled drivers and a lack of government and industry oversight of factory worker transportation, William Conklin, country director at the Solidarity Center, lambasted what he called a larger “systemic problem” of the garment industry and a lack of planning in regards to worker commutes.
“You have to put that as part of your business model. You really have to think about it. You just can’t give some money to workers and that’s it,” he said.
Workers are provided a mandatory $7 monthly stipend by employers to arrange their own transport, said Conklin. Private companies catering to the workers often employ unlicensed drivers.
Conklin called for employers to provide better drivers for workers as well as insurance options and added that a government crackdown on general road safety was also needed.
“You just can’t fix it in isolation . . . Action has to happen fast. We need to have movement on it. But we can almost guarantee that in the interim, we’ll still see accidents and deaths,” he said.