How to stay safe on the road

Rush hour traffic on Sisowath Quay
Rush hour traffic on Sisowath Quay. Traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the country. bloomberg

How to stay safe on the road

The start of the election campaign has begun, and the traffic during the rallies has become unbearable. It will continue to get worse as drivers figure out how they can manoeuvre around the traffic, and hopefully not cause any accidents.

According to the Ministry of Health, traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death in Cambodia. Speeding and drunk driving are the main causes. The World Health Organization reported that 16 per cent of all deadly accidents in Cambodia in 2012 involved alcohol.

Motorbikes are the most common vehicle involved in traffic accidents. Road Crash Victim Information System (RCVIS) reported that 77 per cent of road traffic casualties in Cambodia are motorcycle riders, and 44 per cent suffer traumatic head injuries.

Christoph Lüthy, a graduate in IT Engineer, and former NGO worker has been living in Phnom Penh for almost four years. He has witnessed traffic accidents and has been lucky to escape several injuries while riding his motorbike.

Lüthy created a Facebook group addressing the traffic issues in Cambodia.

“The traffic problem in Cambodia is a problem that can be solved without a lot of bureaucracy,” said Lüthy.

“We want to determine what the people in Cambodia can do to get to a better point by creating awareness and spreading knowledge. Here the people don’t respect the law, because they feel the only purpose of traffic law is the enrichment of policemen. People need to understand that they can make the difference themselves.”

The main issue is lack of knowledge and education. “People should be aware of the consequences of accidents,” said Lüthy. “What is the impact of not wearing a helmet? An accident causes head injury, and a head injury causes death, and death results in tears and a funeral that might ruin the family.”

Another reason why people don’t wear a helmet is because they don’t want to mess up their hair.

“You don’t wear a helmet because you don’t want to mess up your hair? Believe me, after an accident, more than your hair is messed up,”said Lüthy.

Did you know that your front and back lights are important not only so that you see the road, but, much more importantly, so that other drivers see you coming?

Lüthy added, “If your front or back light is not working, it is worth it to fix it. Yes, the police don’t charge it because they don’t work at night, but fixing a light costs about $2, and an accident can cost you your life and other people’s lives. Fixing your lights is a good investment.”

Speeding is another on-going traffic problem.

“Speeding is dangerous. An accident ruins your life, no matter if you are rich or poor,” said Lüthy.

So buckle up your seat belt, wear your helmet, respect each other on the road, and be extra viligante during the campaign season!

For more information, please check out the Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/BetterTraffic-Cambodia

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