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Crashes up as Senate weighs new road law

A man secures a winch cable to a truck after it ran into a ditch in Kampong Thom province this year
A man secures a winch cable to a truck after it ran into a ditch in Kampong Thom province this year. Hong Menea

Crashes up as Senate weighs new road law

Fatal traffic accidents in Cambodia shot up 56 per cent in November as compared with the same month last year, according to new statistics released days after stricter new road laws were passed by the National Assembly.

The figures, announced at a press conference yesterday, again highlighted Cambodia’s struggle with road safety, with 68 more people dying on the Kingdom’s roads last month than in November 2013.

During November, police recorded 398 traffic accidents and 190 deaths, compared to 312 accidents and 122 deaths in November 2013.

Meanwhile, between January and November this year, there were 4,840 accidents resulting in 2,148 deaths, up from 4,322 accidents and 1,901 deaths in the same period of 2013.

Presenting the data, director of the General Commissioner of National Police’s Public Order department El Sam Neang urged drivers to be more careful, noting that on November 5 and 6, six people died after hitting parked cars.

“Cars need to be parked on the side of the road [and must] ensure there is a clearly visible sign warning other drivers to slow down,” he said.

The National Assembly last week passed a sweeping new traffic law that for the first time will require motorbike passengers to wear helmets and limit the number of passengers.

Replacing legislation from 2006, the 92-article law carries tougher penalties for most offences and aims to crack down on overloading motorbikes and drunk drivers.

Motorists in rural areas will also be forced to wear seatbelts under the new law, which still needs to be rubber-stamped by the Senate, approved by the King and distributed to citizens – a process that could take some three to six months.

However, even when fully implemented, questions still remain about how well it will be enforced, with much of the existing law seen as ineffectively wielded by traffic police.

Based on report by the National Road Safety Committee, in 2013, there were 16,227 people injured in traffic accidents, 5,671 seriously injured, and 1,950 killed.

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