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SMS texts warn drunken drivers

A LOCAL mobile-phone operator has begun disseminating messages warning against drunken driving, though a system of nighttime checkpoints has been stalled by recent rough weather and other factors, officials said yesterday.

Gary Foo, marketing manager for Hello, said the company began sending out anti-drunken driving messages to subscribers last week at the behest of the National Police.

The messages state: “If you drink, do not drive. If you drive, do not drink.”

“We always participate in all of the government’s activities for the well-being of the people,” Foo said. “The message is to raise the public awareness on traffic issues and to make people socially responsible in the effort to reduce road accidents.”

Chev Hak, deputy chief of the municipal traffic police, said yesterday that the messages had been created by the Department of Public Order at the National Police, and that the department had contacted all nine mobile operators and requested that they send out the messages.

He said he did not know whether the other operators had agreed to participate.

The messages mark just one component of a wider police effort to crack down on drunken driving.

On October 1, municipal traffic police established nighttime drunken-driving checkpoints in all eight districts of the capital, and pulled over nearly 100 drivers in three days. The checkpoints were suspended, however, for the Pchum Ben festival, and Chev Hak said yesterday that this week’s flooding had prevented police from setting them up again.

“We planned to restart on October 11, but because the weather was not good, we decided to suspend. We will carry on from this week after there is no more rain,” he said yesterday.

Planned checkpoints in Kandal and Kampong Speu provinces have not yet been established. Though National Police Chief Neth Savoeun ordered that they be established in conjunction with those in Phnom Penh, officials said earlier this month that breath analysers had not arrived on time.

Moun Saran, Kandal’s deputy police chief, said yesterday that police had received seven breath analysers, but that they had not begun operating checkpoints.

“We have just trained our traffic police on how to use them, but haven’t started the task yet because of the heavy rains. We are going to start from next week,” he said.

Prach Chanthou, Kampong Speu’s traffic police chief, also said checkpoints had not been set up there, citing the weather and a “lack of street lamps”.



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