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Push for new traffic law

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Motorists drive on a street in Phnom Penh last month. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

A draft traffic law that has been as gridlocked in parliament as a traffic jam on Monivong Boulevard  during peak hour could be closer to being green-lighted.

The National Road Safety Committee yesterday urged officials from multiple ministries to hasten approval of the new traffic law, which has been with the Council of Ministers for about two years.

Public Works and Transport Minister Tram Iv Tek, who also chairs the NRSC, told attendees at a workshop at the Sunway Hotel that the previous traffic law, which came into force in 2007, was overly complex, adding that a new law would both streamline the code and improve safety on Cambodia’s roads after the traffic death toll nearly reached 2,000 in 2011.

“The draft of the new traffic law came to existence after it was amended due to the complexity of the content of the old one,” he said, adding that the new traffic law also aims to make enforcement easier.

The new law will be sent to the National Assembly soon,  Iv Tek added. According to a preliminary report from Road Crash and Victim Information System, accidents caused by driver error accounted for 95 per cent of collisions, with almost half resulting from speeding. Motorbike riders accounted for two thirds of casualties.

Khan Savoeun, secretary of state at the Ministry of Interior, said the ministry had done its best to revise the law many times to avert traffic problems.

“The majority of traffic accidents are caused by buses, vehicles carrying workers and carts which are always overloaded,” he said.  

“Also, most of the passengers sit on the vehicle’s roof or don’t even fasten their seatbelt. The national police will equip all provinces with speed-controlling devices.”

Almost 70 per cent of all road fatalities resulted from head injuries, prompting Prime Minister Hun Sen himself to issue a video clip airing at the workshop and on a number of TV channels appealing to people to wear their helmets.

To contact the reporter on this story: Khoun Leakhana at leakhana.khoun@phnompenhpost.com

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