The number of fatalities associated with road accidents in Cambodia remains stubbornly high in an early assessment of traffic accident data for the first 10 months of 2013.
According to a report produced by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and obtained by the Post yesterday, 1,727 people have died in road accidents up until November, only eight deaths fewer than the same period last year.
The director of the transport department at the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation, Preap Chan Vibol, said that although the statistics are similar to 2012, the underlying issue remains, in that “on average more than five people die from traffic accidents every day”.
The number of overall road accidents increased slightly from 3,905 in 2012, to 3,934 in 2013.
This year, nearly 3,800 people were critically injured and some 2,700 sustained minor injuries, while at the same point last year, almost 4,000 people were critically injured and nearly 3,000 people sustained minor injuries.
Pea Kimvong, head of education for the National Road Safety Committee’s safety campaigns, said that in 2011, road crashes cost the nation $310 million in property damage, medical costs and other related expenses, and that figure is increasing.
Kimvong said that while there are a host of factors contributing to road accidents – including a lack of law enforcement and the pittance spent on the issue – it is the public’s lack of education on road matters that is the chief culprit.
“People do not pay much attention to the issue of traffic accidents,” he said.
When speaking at an event aimed at increasing the use of helmets in Cambodia earlier this year, Momoe Takeuchi, senior program management officer with the World Health Organisation, said that despite the number of road fatalities, “helmet use is still low”.
“While 65 per cent of motorcycle drivers wear helmets, only 9 per cent was observed among passengers,” she said.