GOVERNMENT officials held a meeting with local transportation companies earlier this month to standardise safety measures in response to a sharp increase in traffic accidents involving tourists, officials said Sunday.
According to a report released by the Traffic Police department on Friday, 299 tourists were involved in road accidents in Cambodia in the first half of 2009, compared with just 168 in the first half of 2008.
Uk Kimleik, national deputy police commissioner, said that on August 21 police and other officials held a meeting with 18 Phnom Penh transportation companies in which they discussed ways to improve traffic safety for tourists in the Kingdom.
The transportation companies agreed to adopt several specific measures to target this problem. "We made them promise to cooperate with us on a number of points, including limiting the speed of their vehicles to 40 kilometers per hour in cities and 90 kilometers per hour outside of town," Uk Kimleik said.
The companies also agreed that any drivers they employ will be properly licensed, and that the overloading of buses and other transport vehicles will be completely banned, he added.
Government officials voiced concern on Sunday that continuing declines in traffic safety could pose a serious threat to Cambodia's reputation as a travel destination.
"It is really very bad for our tourism sector when tourists die in road accidents here," said Sem Psnha Vuth, victim and road accident information controller. "Visitors who see road accidents will be shocked."