Although the number of traffic accidents over the New Year holiday had remained relatively unchanged from last year, road fatalities increased by roughly 18 per cent, authorities reported yesterday.
Sok Nup, director of the National Police’s processing office, told the Post yesterday that between December 31 and January 2, authorities had recorded 43 traffic accidents, 20 deaths and 64 injuries.
In the same period last year, there were 44 accidents, 17 fatalities and 83 injuries.
“According to our observations, most victims who died were not wearing helmets,” Sok Nup said.
Keth Sopheak, deputy chief of Preah Sihanouk province’s traffic office, said nine people had been injured in three crashes in the province over the three-day holiday.
He attributed the low number of accidents to stronger enforcement of traffic laws.
Kim Yideth, deputy director of the National Police’s processing office, estimated that 45 per cent of the accidents were a result of speeding, 11 per cent were due to drunk driving and 17 per cent were caused by carelessness.
Because speeding causes a majority of accidents, Kim Yideth reported that officials were working on an amendment to the traffic law that would reduce the speed limit.
“In order to decrease the number of accidents, we have added an amendment to the draft of the new traffic law that would set the speed limit in rural areas at 80 kilometres per hour, which is less than the current speed limit of 90 kilometres per hour,” he said.
Sao Sovanratanak, head of traffic safety at the World Health Organisation, said traffic accidents were a serious public health issue because, on average, between four and five people died from road accidents in Cambodia each day.
A reduced speed limit would help limit fatalities, he said.