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‘Accidents claimed 1,981 lives last year’

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A National Police report said that of the 4,121 traffic accidents that occurred throughout last year, 1,981 people – including 330 females and 1,651 males – had died. Hong Menea

‘Accidents claimed 1,981 lives last year’

A National Police report for 2019 said that of the 4,121 traffic accidents that occurred throughout last year, 1,981 people – including 330 females and 1,651 males – had died. Another 3,919 were seriously injured and 2,222 suffered minor injuries.

The report said traffic accidents had damaged 4,291 motorcycles, 2,029 cars and 1,059 trucks. It said last year’s figures had increased, compared to 2018 when only 3,267 traffic accidents were reported – causing 1,761 deaths and 4,770 serious and minor injuries.

A road traffic official said traffic accidents were reported every day of last year. The traffic accidents due to excessive speeding remained the main cause. An official from a civil society organisation said traffic police have yet to strictly enforce the law on speed limits.

Mann Sophanna, the Road Traffic Bureau chief at the Department of Traffic Police and Public Order told The Post on Wednesday that data for just 30 days in December last year showed that 364 traffic accidents had occurred, causing 182 deaths and 49 serious and minor injuries.

He said of the 364 accidents, 46 per cent was caused by excessive speeding, overtaking without consideration for road conditions (11 per cent), not keeping to right of way (10 per cent), making turns under dangerous conditions (seven per cent), drink driving (four per cent) and vehicle factors (two per cent).

“So, excessive speeding remains the major problem that led to traffic accidents. And it was caused by motorists disregarding traffic signs, for example, they drive up to 80km/h when the limit is just 40km/h.

“And when the speed limit is 80km/h, they drive at 100km/h. So, they face dangers when they cannot apply their brakes in time,” he said.

Sophanna said to reduce traffic accidents caused by excessive speeding, motorists had to respect the traffic signs and road markings. Traffic police were deployed throughout the Kingdom to stop drivers from speeding.

But motorists, he said, must also cooperate for their safety.

“There is no lack of officials to enforce the speed limit and it is done every day in the capital and provinces. But motorists are not law-abiding and don’t bother to learn about traffic laws.

“We do whatever we can to disseminate the law and educate motorists but they have to do their part too,” Sophanna said.

Institute for Road Safety acting director Kong Ratanak encouraged the authorities to conduct an in-depth study on the causes that motivate drivers to exceed the speed limit.

He said speeding was common among those who drove under the influence of alcohol. However, he said speeding became a problem in the Kingdom due to poor law enforcement. Major national roads, he said, do not have cameras installed to capture speeding drivers.

“On National Road 6A, we still see motorists speeding. Traffic police do not enforce the law consistently. Police officials also commit corruption when they catch motorists committing offences. They still take bribes from motorists to turn a blind eye to their offences,” he said.

On December 25, National Road Safety Committee secretary-general Him Yan said that traffic accident data was indispensable information in planning to reduce accidents.

He appealed to all the traffic police officials to learn and use technology to keep traffic data.

The website of the National Police quoted Yan as saying: “Data enables us to identify dangerous locations. It enables the police to assess danger and ascertain who causes a danger to whom – workers, farmers or students, motorcycles, cars or trucks.

“[The police] are also aware of the causes of traffic accidents such as drug and alcohol consumption,” Yan said.

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