Phnom Penh authorities yesterday offered an economic argument for ministries, motorists and citizens to respect traffic laws, claiming that congestion-related costs in the capital were setting the country back about $6 million per month.
Speaking at a national seminar, Effects of Traffic Congestion on Environment and Welfare: Challenges and Solutions, at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, Phnom Penh City Hall Deputy Governor Eang Onny said factors including a growing urban population, expanding towns and increasing consumer activity and tourism were contributing to a major problem of congestion and accidents on the nation’s roads.
“The majority of the loss is on petrol, as well as lost working time, which is affecting economic efficiency,” he said. “These losses do not yet include traffic accidents, which are causing a loss to the national budget and population totalling $300 million every year.”
Emphasising that economic losses were compounded by the toll on the environment’s and population’s health, Sum Chhumbun, vice president of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, called for improved infrastructure, increased regulation and broader education around the use of roads.
However, social researcher and political organiser Kem Ley also noted the need for reforms relating to practices by official institutions, with proposals to review ministries’ parking arrangements, move state buildings to the capital’s outskirts and avoid blocking streets for ceremonial activities and security details.
Sok Nob, deputy director of the Ministry of the Interior’s Public Order Department, also noted a human toll, explaining that an average of six people were killed and 20 injured every day as result of traffic accidents.
“There were 3,505 cases of traffic accident with 1,734 people killed in the first nine months of 2015,” he said, adding that a further 3,309 people were seriously injured over the same period.
Meanwhile, an alleged drunk-driving incident in Pursat on Monday night underscored the human cost of abuse of the nation’s road rules.
According to district police officers, two women were killed and another two injured when a luxury car carrying five ran into a tree on National Road 5, with the driver fleeing the scene after the collision.
Yem Yoeun, Bakan district deputy police chief, said officers were now pursuing the driver, who they had identified and suspect was inebriated at the time of the crash.