Phnom Penh schools launch campaign in a bid to reduce the number of young people driving motorbikes without licences
Photo by: HENG CHIVOAN
A traffic accident last week in Phnom Penh. Officials say licenses will help reduce accidents, especially among young people.
FOR the more than 800,000 motorbikes registered in Cambodia, only 14,000 driver's licences have been issued since the enforcement of traffic laws in 2007, according to transport officials, who are resorting to new tactics to increase knowledge of the Kingdom's road rules.
Keo Savin, director of land transport at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said to motivate young people to get their licence, the ministry, in cooperation with Japanese development group JICA, are giving lessons on traffic laws at Phnom Penh, Bak Touk, Sisowath and Tuol Tumpoung high schools in a "trial program" before it is introduced into other areas.
"We must enforce the law strictly and encourage people to get motor driving licenses," he said.
Sok Sovanna, director of Bak Touk High School, said that the program, in which 1,000 students are being given traffic law lessons and a road rule test at the school through the month of December, was an important step in road safety education.
"The program is helpful for students to learn that they must drive with licences," he said.
"The fee for having a driving licence is only US$10," he said, adding that only those aged over 16 years can register for a licence.
No fine, no worries
Sann Socheata, road safety program manager at Handicap International Belgium, said that as long as there was no penalty for driving without a licence in Cambodia, thousands would continue to do so.
"Until there is a fine, people will not care," she said.
She said she had noticed that young people from 15 to 24 were among the highest percentage of victims involved in traffic accidents.
"They are at risk of accidents because they drive without properly learning the traffic laws," she said, adding that since many Cambodians started driving at a young age, it was hard to enforce new habits.
"In Cambodia, even children under 16 drive motorbikes, which makes it very difficult for officials to encourage them to have licences," she said.
"According to the law, only those who are aged 16 and over are allowed to get licences."