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2021: fewer road accidents, deaths

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A traffic accident in Tuol Svay Prey commune of Phnom Penh’s Boeung Keng Kang district in July. Heng Chivoan

2021: fewer road accidents, deaths

There were nearly 1,500 fatalities from road accidents in 2021, a decrease of 150 or about 9 per cent compared to 2020, which had more than 1,600 people killed on the Kingdom’s roads.

On January 1, 2022, 15 people were killed and 22 were injured in road accidents.

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said on January 1 that 2,670 road accidents occurred in 2021 compared to the 3,176 road accidents of 2020 or a decrease of 16 per cent.

“The number of deaths was 1,497 as compared to 1,646 in 2020, a decrease of 149 deaths or 9 per cent. The number of injuries was 3,615 – a decrease of 1,071 or about 23 per cent compared to 2020, which had 4,686 injuries,” he said in a Facebook post.

Sar Kheng added that the main causes of accidents in 2021 was speeding, which accounted for 38 per cent of the total. Not respecting other vehicles’ right of way caused 24 per cent, passing other vehicles in dangerous conditions caused 8 per cent, turning left and right in a careless manner caused 8 per cent and drunk-driving was responsible for 4 per cent of road accidents.

Sar Kheng wrote in his post that the drop in the number of deaths and injuries showed the effective participation of the Cambodian people in the effort to increase road safety in the Kingdom by following the road traffic laws and that it also showed that the police at all levels had implemented the law professionally and actively.

Sar Kheng emphasised that although the results showed a drop in the rate of deaths and injuries, the rate at which accidents occurred and the number of casualties was still too high and a tragedy for the Cambodian people, leaving thousands dead and injured each year or their property damaged.

He called on the all drivers in Cambodia to follow the road traffic law consistently when they travel and drive cautiously at all times and with an understanding of their mutual duty to protect other road users from danger.

Sar Kheng also reminded the police to step up enforcement of the traffic laws strictly and without exceptions as they have a duty to protect the health, safety and lives of the people and letting careless or dangerous drivers go without penalties would be a failure of that duty.

“[Relevant authorities] must install additional traffic signals, lights and other signs as a reminder for drivers to obey the law in order to prevent accidents. Continue to educate people on the law on a regular basis in both urban and rural areas to raise the people’s awareness of their responsibilities as drivers under the law,” he said.

The National Police also released a report on January 1 that 15 people had been killed and 22 had been injured in road accidents – resulting in four minor injuries and 18 serious injuries – on January 1 nationwide.

The report said that 20 road accidents occurred in the capital and in Kratie, Kampong Speu, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, Preah Vihear, Stung Treng, Oddar Meanchey, Kep and Tbong Khmum provinces.

The report added that on January 1, the police had set up 99 roadblocks or traffic monitoring points at target locations across the country to tighten enforcement. They stopped 2,982 cars and other vehicles and 2,254 motorcycles with 513 of the car drivers and 462 motorcycle drivers given receiving fines.

Sar Kheng said that in late 2021, now that Covid-19 cases have dropped significantly, the government decided to reopen the country to begin its recovery and stimulate Cambodia’s social and economic development and that road accidents have predictably increased since then.

The working group of the government is currently studying in detail some amendments to the road traffic law to facilitate the implementation of the law by the police and to further restrict traffic and increase safety.

Asia Injury Prevention Foundation director Kim Panga said that the government should revise Article 4 of the road traffic law on the use of roads and Article 8 regarding the use of vehicles like the new model of tuk-tuks that are now commonly found on the roads because that type of vehicle – when used improperly – has caused many road accidents.

“Regarding the speed limit stipulated in the sub-decree: When amending or drafting a new road traffic law, whether in the law or in the sub-decree, please consider these two issues regarding vehicle speed limits.

“First, in school areas, please limit speeds to a maximum of 30km/h for the safety of our students. Second, the speed limit for workers’ transport trucks should be lowered to a maximum of 50km/h due to the high risk for casualties when trucks packed full of workers are in accidents,” he said.

Panga added that civil society organisations working on the road traffic law wanted the government to reconsider their earlier decision to waive driver education and training for those who drive 125cc and under motorcycles, because according to the data, somewhere between 80 and 90 per cent of all road accidents involve 125cc or under motorcyclists.


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