Sun Chanthol, deputy prime minister and first vice-president of the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), expressed concern over the safety of the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, which saw 334 road accidents and five fatalities in the past year. Traffic experts have urged stricter road traffic law enforcement to prevent future incidents.

Chanthol stated his concerns while presiding over the first anniversary of the expressway's official opening on November 7. The ceremony was graced by the presence of Chinese ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian, Minister of Public Works and Transport Peng Ponea, and Zhou Yong, assistant to the general manager of China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), the company behind the construction.

"In the year following the expressway's official opening, 344 traffic accidents occured, leading to five fatalities and 73 injuries," he said.

"On average, there are five daily fatalities nationwide ... The expressway recorded five deaths the past year, but even with just five fatalities, we must not let it happen," he added.

He also asked the company to conduct a thorough inspection of all equipment along the expressway to mitigate traffic accidents. Particular attention should be given to inspecting the fence, designed to prevent animals from entering the expressway.

"I urge road users to adhere to traffic laws and the company to conduct comprehensive inspections for improved service. It is essential to install adequate traffic signs to minimise accidents.

Furthermore, I recommend implementing an ETC card system for toll payment at the expressway entrance to alleviate congestion. Using ETC [electronic toll collection] and ANPR [auto number-plate recognition] cards can facilitate direct gate access," Chanthol said.

On November 8, Kim Pagna, country director of the Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation, expressed his concerns regarding the data related to traffic accidents and fatalities along the expressway.

He suggested that the relevant authorities promptly implement preventive measures based on the one-year experience gained.

"Authorities and the company can engage in educating people, but enforcing the law remains the most effective approach," he said.

"Many drivers on the expressway operate four-wheel vehicles, with far fewer motorcyclists. The majority of drivers undergo extensive traffic training. Therefore, education may not yield significant results. Strict law enforcement is essential, especially considering that many drivers tend to be reckless and frequently exceed speed limits," he added.