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New Year traffic safety target of WHO ad blitz

6traffic officers
Traffic officers man a random checkpoint set up Wednesday night in Phnom Penh. Photo Supplied

The last of a two-week television and radio advertising blitz urging motorists to exercise caution during the crash-heavy period over Khmer New Year will wrap up this weekend.

Dr Ratnak Sao with the World Health Organization’s road safety program said the campaign – “Wear a Helmet, Anywhere & Anytime!” – aims to raise awareness of the dangers inherent in non-helmet use and other behaviour that flouts traffic legislation.

Sao said that it “also highlights the coming [traffic] law to issue severe penalties for offenders who do not wear helmets, both for drivers and passengers.”

Released in collaboration with the National Road Safety Committee, the campaign, running through April 14, is in its second year and will play on more television stations than the initial launch.   

A total of 270 television and 352 radio spots will be aired in sequences lasting 30 and 45 seconds, respectively. Viewers of CTN, MyTV, SEATV, Bayon TV, TV5 and TV3 may have caught the spots. The radio versions were slated for prime time on FM stations 103, 107 and 104.5.

The National Road Safety Committee reported that in 2012, within five days of Khmer New Year, it recorded 48 deaths due to road crashes – about 10 per day, double the daily non-Khmer New Year average – and 214 people were severely injured. Most accidents occur because of speeding and drunk driving.

“Road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death in Cambodia, the rapid increase in road crashes happens, generally, at any national public holiday, especially during Khmer New Year (KNY) which arrives within a few days,” said a translated message the road safety committee sent this week to NGOs and government officials.

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