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Police brace for rise in crashes over Chinese New Year holiday

THE government and traffic safety activists are bracing for an expected surge in accidents during Chinese New Year, a time that typically sees the roads become more perilous as Phnom Penh residents head to the provinces to celebrate.

The NGO Handicap International Belgium has this year produced an hourlong “talk show” that will air on Thursday at 6:30pm to warn viewers about the dangers of driving during the three-day celebrations, said Amra Ou, the organisation’s Road Crash and Victim Information System officer.

“Most drivers are not careful during the celebrations,” Amra Ou said. “There are many people driving on those days, and police can’t catch everyone, so people don’t care about wearing helmets, and they don’t respect the law.”

She noted that the highest concentrations of traffic accidents typically occur during Khmer New Year, Pchhum Ben and Water Festival, but added that Chinese New Year, which this year begins on February 14, comes close.

Last year, she said, HIB recorded more than 2,000 traffic casualties during Chinese New Year, including 156 deaths and 773 serious injuries.

Him Yan, director of the Interior Ministry’s Department of Public Order, said Sunday that he had recently emphasised to police the importance of enforcing the Land Traffic Law during the holiday.

“I have informed all Traffic Police in the different provinces to reinforce the law during Chinese New Year because many people leave the city to travel to the provinces,” he said.

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