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August’s road deaths up despite fewer accidents

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A road accident in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district in August. Hong Menea

August’s road deaths up despite fewer accidents

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng called on people to obey road traffic law and respect other road users’ priorities to reduce accidents.

The call came as an official report showed that road traffic fatalities increased last month, though the number of accidents decreased.

The report released on September 1 said there were 199 traffic accidents nationwide, a decrease of nine, and 241 injuries, a decrease of 41. But traffic deaths had risen to 123, an increase of 16 from July’s road toll of 107.

Sar Kheng said the increase in traffic deaths in August was when people had travelled during the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival, or Sen Kbal Teuk, which saw 15 deaths and 32 injuries. People also travelled every weekend after the Covid-19 situation had improved and the number travelling continues to increase.

He added that the number of traffic accidents in August 2021 compared to August 2020 was 79 or 20 per cent less. The number of injuries had decreased by 199 people or 45 per cent, and an increase in deaths a change of two per cent.

Sar Kheng continued to ask the public to respect the Road Traffic Law at all times and to be careful when on the road and respect the safety of others.

“As a chairman of the National Road Safety Committee, I would also like to remind officials responsible for administering the Road Traffic Law to strictly enforce the law without exception or personal sympathy. This duty is to protect the happiness and security of our people,” Kheng said.

Traffic accident expert and consultant Kong Ratanak said that Cambodia was already working to achieve a decrease in the road toll. However, Cambodia had not yet reached its goal because Cambodia still lacked financial resources and investment in the security field.

“We have seen a lot of effort applied to education and spreading information, tightening the law and improving road infrastructure,” he said. “The road safety sector requires the participation of everybody, in particular road users to respect the law and try harder to learn how to prevent and solve traffic problems.”

Citing the August report, Ratanak said traffic accidents remain major and important challenges. Accidents have to be considered a top priority.

“The average death toll was four to five a day a long time ago,” he said. “I understand that if these figures shown are the ones collected from comprehensive accident data, it shows an improvement in the accident situation because in previous years, the average death toll was five to six a day.”

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