High school and university students, considered particularly at risk of road accidents, may soon be taking lessons on the new traffic law if a proposal from the Transport Ministry comes to fruition.
Tram Iv Tek, minister of public works and transport, yesterday said that the government would seek to include seminars on the new traffic law in high school and university curriculums after statistics revealed that a tenth of all accidents involve that demographic.
“As this is a new traffic law, some residents or students do not yet clearly understand [the rules], so we hope to be able to insert the new traffic law into the education sector,” he said.
“Students will be able to learn about it and understand it more clearly, and the students can promote it to others.”
The new Traffic Law was approved on December 30 after being signed off on in the National Assembly on December 5. It was intended to complement an old law passed in 2007.
Ros Salin, a spokesman for the Ministry of Education, told reporters that the ministry would welcome the idea of teaching students about the traffic law.
Students yesterday agreed that a lack of information led to students not taking seriously the penalties and consequences of bad driving.
Chan Veasna, a student of Sisowath High School in Phnom Penh, said that learning about the law would cause students to take more care on the roads. “When we understand that the new law’s punishments are serious, we will be afraid of riding or driving and be careful,” he added.
Under the new law, driving under the influence can result in a nearly $1,000 fine. The law also limits the number of people per motorbike to two, plus one child, and requires both driver and passengers to wear helmets.
Ear Chariya, an independent road safety consultant, welcomed the plans, but said several hurdles would need to be overcome for it to be a success.
He pointed to two previous schemes for primary and secondary school students, which he said “were not very well implemented”.
Money was lacking to fund the publication of the curriculum, and extra materials would be needed for students, he added.
“Teachers always complain they don’t have the time to teach this curriculum.… Having a curriculum is good, but the ministry needs to find ways to support teachers.”
According to the annual report on road safety released earlier this year, 2,148 people died and 8,057 people were injured in traffic accidents last year; one of the highest rates in the region.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY DANIEL PYE