Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol has urged the owners of about half a million vehicles whose technical inspection certificates have expired to utilise the nearest Check centre services to do so promptly or risk fines.

Chanthol’s plea came as he presided over the opening ceremony of the Po Sen Chey-Odem branch of the vehicle technical inspection (Check) centre in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district on March 28.

Chanthol said the purpose of establishing this and other Check centres across Cambodia was to bring public services – which are essential services – to locations that are more convenient for service users.

“Prime Minister Hun Sen instructed the public works ministry to provide public – and essential – services to be effective, transparent and fast for the people. That’s why the ministry has made efforts to ... establish more Check centres,” he said.

Chanthol stressed that the vehicle inspection conducted at Check centres was a legal requirement for drivers to ensure vehicle standards meet that which are allowed, as well as to be able to upkeep vehicles, thereby preventing accidents.

“The law requires a technical inspection for every vehicle. If cars do not meet the technical standards, they can cause traffic accidents,” he said.

Chanthol noted that “most” traffic accidents today are caused by human factors, but that “about 3.5 per cent” are caused by vehicles that do not undergo routine technical inspection.

Those who fail to schedule inspections for their vehicles will be fined 500 riel per day from the certificate’s date of expiration.

Chanthol said that since the implementation of the law in July 2020, over 170,000 vehicles that have not undergone technical inspections are liable to have fines paid on them, collection of which would net the government an estimated 21 billion riel.

He said “about half a million” vehicles’ technical inspection certificates had expired, and urged vehicle owners to schedule inspections promptly so as to avoid penalties.

“Do not accuse the government of always wanting to get people’s money. If you do no wrong, then there will be no fine,” he said.

There are 24 Check centres in Cambodia, with seven in Phnom Penh and 17 in the provinces. Chanthol said he was negotiating with private companies to fund more mobile Check centres in provinces that are yet to house any such services.

Construction on the Po Sen Chey-Odem branch Check centre, which sits on a 15,000sqm site, started in November 2020 and was completed in October 2021.

After obtaining permission for trial use in January, the centre inspected 1,113 vehicles, of which there were 980 cars and 133 trucks. It also inspected 367 vehicles whose technical inspection certificates had expired.

The centre is equipped with three technical inspection areas, which are able to conduct assessments on vehicles’ speedometers, steering wheels, tension force, brake force and diesel and gasoline emissions.

Heang Sotheayuth, director of the ministry’s Information Technology and Public Relations Department, said it has logged “about 6.5 million” public enquiries from across the country – including 1.9 million on vehicle inspections – since launching the ministry’s public service automation system in January 2017.

He said that public demand for the services has been increasing, putting a strain on their provision.

Though he acknowledged that the technology used in such services was advancing to match the technology in newer vehicles, Sotheayuth said the technical inspection system for older vehicles still face many problems, such as delays and interruptions.

In March and April 2020, the second generation of the Check system development project team began to study, understand and collect input from the old system, presenting their findings to stakeholders who have been working with them to set up a new system.