PHNOM Penh traffic police have begun to enforce the wearing of helmets after dark, said city officials, who say the lack of nighttime patrols had promoted reckless and illegal driving.
Chev Hak, deputy chief of the city's Traffic Police, said Thursday that there were 446 nighttime accidents in 2008, more than half of the 700 recorded by the municipality.
"We will do more work to encourage the wearing of helmets at night because the number of traffic accidents has increased more than in the daytime," he said.
"Motorbike riders do not pay too much attention to their safety when they ride at night."
He added that many people understand the importance of wearing helmets, but that they slackened their vigilance at night because of the lack of police checkpoints.
"When I fine them they tell me that they don't wear [helmets] because no police are there and that they don't care about wearing a helmet," he said.
Prum Pov, provincial chief of Preah Sihanouk's Traffic Police, said 60 percent of those who died in traffic accidents in 2008 did not wear helmets, and that the local police ran patrols until 8pm.
Battambang Traffic Police chief Sath Kimsan said barely a third of drivers wore helmets at night. "At nighttime, only 20 percent to 30 percent of people wear helmets because they don't see the police standing along the road," he said.
"I haven't taken any measures to enforce the wearing of helmets at night yet. I want to enforce them during the day until 100 percent are complying, and then I will work hard for nighttime enforcement."