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Decade sees huge jump in traffic deaths

Decade sees huge jump in traffic deaths

TRAFFIC-related deaths in the Kingdom have increased by 328 percent over the last decade, according to a new international study.

The Kingdom, along with Malaysia and Argentina, was one of only three countries where the number of traffic-related deaths had increased over the 2000s, according to a report from the International Traffic Safety Data and Analysis Group, an agency of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The report notes, however, that the three countries “have only recently joined IRTAD and hope to benefit from the expertise of the group in designing road-safety measures”. The figures for Cambodia are under review.

The report, which was released September 15 and draws on police records, found that the number of traffic-related fatalities in the Kingdom has increased at an average rate of 17.5 percent annually since 2000.

Figures in the report, however, suggest that the rate of increase is slowing.

There were 1,717 traffic-related fatalities in Cambodia last year, representing a 4.8 percent increase on the 1,638 deaths recorded in 2008.

Jeroen Stol, country director for Handicap International Belgium, said yesterday that he could not confirm the figures, as he had not yet seen the report, but he noted that there had been a “continuous increase” in traffic-related fatalities in Cambodia.

He said the rise was attributable in part to the fact that road-safety measures were not being improved in proportion with the increasing number of vehicles on the road.

“There is a huge increase in economic development and that goes hand-in-hand with an increase in the number of motorbikes and cars on the roads,” he said. “But the systems to improve road safety are not being put in place yet.”

He said that improved training for drivers and stricter law enforcement were key to reducing the number of deaths.

Tin Prosoeur, deputy chief of the Traffic Department at the Interior Ministry, yesterday questioned the accuracy of the 328 percent figure. “We acknowledge that traffic fatalities are still increasing, but they have not jumped up to these high statistics,” he said.

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