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Road collisions increased in May

AFTER dipping in April, the number of road traffic collisions recorded in May matched last year’s total, and resulted in about the same number of deaths, according to figures provided by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.

Preap Chanvibol, director of the ministry’s Land Transport Department, said Tuesday that 649 collisions had been recorded in May, up slightly
from 634 the year before. These resulted in 202 fatalities, compared to 205 last May.

The numbers of both collisions and deaths typically increase each April and May compared to the first three months of the year, due to the high level of travel associated with holidays such as Khmer New Year and the Royal Ploughing Ceremony.

This past April, however, the number of traffic accidents recorded by the ministry fell from 526 to 433, suggesting that progress could be made towards the ASEAN goal of 7 road deaths per 100,000 people each year. Cambodia recorded 12.6 road deaths per 100,000 people last year.

The May figures revealed that the number of motorbikes involved in road accidents jumped from 409 in April to 750 in May.

“We found that motorbikes were involved in about 70 percent of accidents. This is high, and we are worried that more motorbikes will be involved in more accidents going forward,” Preap Chanvibol said.

“Traffic accidents and fatalities just keep increasing even though the government has enforced the helmet rule better this year,” he added.

An amendment to the Land Traffic Law adopted in January 2009 imposed a fine of 3,000 riels (about US$0.75) for motorbike drivers caught without helmets.

Sem Panhavuth, project manager for the Road Crash and Victim Information System at the NGO Handicap International Belgium, said Wednesday that he had not finished totalling the number of accidents in April and May.

According to statistics from the first three months of the year, he said, speeding was the cause of 50 percent of accidents, and compliance with the helmet regulation remained patchy.

“Some people still do not want to wear helmets,” he said.

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