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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Traffic accidents down but fatalities up, reports say

Traffic accidents down but fatalities up, reports say

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081205_03.jpg

An interim report from the Ministry of Interior shows rise in traffic fatalities, as NGO figures show drop in accidents

Photo by:

Tracey Shelton

The congested streets of Phnom Penh, perilous to the drivers who flood the city.

THE number of fatalities from traffic accidents is up from last year according to a temporary report from the Ministry of Interior, officials say.

"This year, traffic accident fatalities increased by 1.8 percent from last year," Keo Savin, department chief of land transportation at the Ministry of Public works, told the Post on Thursday, emphasising that these are only interim results.

According to the report, 1,545 people died in road accidents in 2007 compared with 1,572 deaths in 2008 to date.

"We always cooperate with NGOs, private companies, the public sector and citizens in order to reduce traffic accidents, and we usually broadcast to all people about the traffic law, but some of them don't care," said Keo Savin.

He said the overwhelming majority of fatalities were due to people not wearing helmets and driving drunk.

"In Cambodia, only 24 percent [of motorists] wear helmets," said Keo Savin, adding that "the accidents usually happen at nighttime because of the many drunken drivers".

Meas Channy, traffic safety officer at Handicap International, said the first seven months of 2007 saw 16,352 accidents, compared with 14,213 cases in the same period this year, according to Handicap International figures.

"However, the number of people who died in road accidents has increased.... More than four people now die on Cambodian roads each day," Meas Channy said.

"It is necessary for drivers to respect the traffic laws and drive carefully. If everybody can do that, the traffic accident fatalities will decline.

"I think that traffic police have to broadcast traffic laws and practice safe driving because not all people know and understand [the laws]."

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