Reckless drivers cause mayhem on Phnom Penh's streets

Reckless drivers cause mayhem on Phnom Penh's streets



Traffic is definitely one of the many distinct features of the city. But traffic comes with a price tag: absolute lack of courtesy for fellow drivers and accidents.

Talking on a cell phone while driving or honking rage indicates lack of courtesy from drivers. It is an attitude police forces along with the government seem unwilling to take measures against or regulate.

Thorn Leakhena, 25, works at the Institute of Foreign Languages: “Traffic is getting worse,” he says. “People do not care and have no respect for motorbikes, riders or pedestrians. I cannot help it. I do blame all car drivers honking inappropriately. I remember that one time, a driver honked at me while he was on the wrong side of the road, driving against traffic!

“When you are driving an expensive powerful car or motorcycle, you should behave and respect other people,” he says.

Talking on the cell phone falls in the category of driver behavior’s deviancies.

Khin Lyda, 20, is a 4th year student at the University of Health and Science.

“All those drivers on the phone while behind the wheel always lose control of their vehicle”, she says. “Their car sways, zigzags, can cause an accident and incidentally, traffic jams,” she says with anger.

Pannha owns a nice car and admits he is a daredevil on the road but insists he has reasons for it.

“Sometimes, I honk like crazy because I am on a hurry. honking tells other drivers that you’re there. Talking on the phone while driving is very common. I do it, so does everyone. I do not feel I am breaking the law in any way.”

As a friendly reminder, talking on a cell-phone while driving and honking excessively are not just against basic courtesy, but can also cause traffic accidents.

According to a 2011 World Health Organization’s research, talking on a cell-phone and driving at the same time greatly increase the likelihood of having an accident. This has raised concerns in many countries across the globe for effective solutions.  

Research has shown that talking on a cell-phone while driving induces low concentration, slower reaction time to jams or traffic lights, significant visual impairment and impossibility to focus and/or control the vehicle. All of these increase road accidents.

“In fact, talking on the phone while driving and unnecessary blaring honking are already part of new traffic laws which are unfortunately still not enforced”, says BunCheaun, a police officer in Phnom Penh.

Turning to an organization, Handicap, working on road safety in Cambodia, Ear Chariya, research monitoring and evaluation coordinator Road Safety program, said, he encourage the government do some action with the issue of phone talking while driving and inappropriate horning, since he knows that these two problems would not leave the road safe as the policies of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation.

Chariya added that sometimes driver may think that they are expert or good enough in controlling their vehicle, but they might have never realized that just a minute on the phone would transfer them into risk. Beeping is annoying and can damage other drivers’ concentration; the horns of big cars are most harmful.

Monyroth, a Red Cross volunteer who educates people on traffic laws, recommends to always use earphone when driving. Respecting the law is not enough. Drivers should always be aware of their attitude.

If you want respect, respect others!


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