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People take an injured woman away from the site of a traffic accident to seek medical treatment after a van rolled off the road in Kampong Thom province early last month. Heng Chivoan

Traffic deaths up from 2014

Traffic deaths in Cambodia during the first six months of 2015 increased from the same period last year, though the total number of road accidents in the Kingdom plummeted, according to traffic police data.

Ministry of Interior Public Order Department Director Run Rathveasna yesterday said that even though there have so far been 1,089 fewer reported traffic accidents and 249 fewer injuries in this year’s first half than 2014’s, 59 more people died on the road.

A total of 1,229 traffic deaths were recorded this year out of 1,514 accidents.

The increase in the number of deaths and serious injuries on the roads despite the fact that fewer accidents occurred may be because there have been several serious crashes that involved numerous people in a single accident, said Ear Chariya, an independent road safety analyst.

“I think one of the reasons why the number of fatalities increased while the number of accidents decreased, is because this year each road crash involved a lot of people who died,” Chariya said yesterday.

“For example the accident we saw with the bus and the van with garment workers, which killed [18].”

In May, a bus crashed into a van carrying 39 workers in Svay Rieng province.

The head-on collision killed 18 passengers in the van.

So far there have been 4,090 injuries, with 2,359 of those considered serious; a decline from last year’s 4,339 injuries, 2,502 of which were serious, Rathveasna said.

Speeding caused 41 per cent of this year’s accidents, 12 per cent were caused by drunken driving and 13 per cent were the result of illegal driving manoeuvres, the data show.

Chariya noted that the recently released data are a preliminary analysis, which only takes into account figures recorded by police, but does not include information from hospitals.

However, he said, a new traffic law could decrease injuries and fatalities.

Rathveasna agreed yesterday, adding that the law has been passed, but has yet to be enforced.

“Our new traffic law was approved earlier this year, but we are currently still using the old traffic laws, because we want to spread more information about our new traffic law to people,” he said.

He added that the law increases fines and penalties, and will likely be implemented in January of next year.

“We don’t want to fine people, but we want them to respect the law.”



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