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Passenger helmet law eyed

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A motorcyclist sits in the middle of the road after an accident at the corner of Sihanouk and Sothearos boulevards.

Government officials and civil-society representatives this week pledged their support for amending the  traffic law  to improve road safety.

The changes would require all motorbike passengers to wear a helmet and  impose stiffer penalties for drivers caught without one, officials said.

Preap Chanvibol, director of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport’s Department of Land Transportation, told a press conference on Tuesday that the new law would contain 10 additional articles intended to reduce the number of traffic accidents and road fatalities.

One such change, he said, would make the fine for drivers not wearing a helmet five times its current level, which is 3,500 riel (US$.75).

“We hope that when the new law is passed, traffic accidents and deaths will go down.”

The draft of the new law still needed to be discussed by the ministries of interior, justice, finance and public works and transport, Preap Chanvibol said, although he did not provide a  time line for such discussions.

Lim Sokchea, executive director of the Coalition for Road Safety, said the proposed changes represented a positive step forward by the government in reducing traffic accidents.

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