With Khmer New Year one day away, relevant institutions have reiterated their call for people to respect road traffic laws to prevent and reduce accidents during the holiday.

The Ministry of Interior's Department of Traffic Police and Public Order urged road users to drive carefully and practice tolerance.

“Do not exceed the speed limit, drive under the influence of alcohol or overtake in dangerous conditions. Do not overload vehicles and respect the right of way on roads,” said the department in a statement.

In its appeal to motorists to help prevent or reduce road accidents, the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) of the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training acknowledged that traffic will be heavy because Khmer New Year celebration has been fully allowed after it was cancelled for two years.

Before the pandemic, Cambodians and garment workers, who make up the largest formal employment sector, return to their hometowns or visit recreation places.

“So [we expect] traffic to be heavy and road accidents to happen,” NSSF said, urging factory bus drivers to take extra precaution and maintain preventive health measures.

“Both drivers and passengers must properly wear their helmets. Wear your seat belt when travelling in a car. Check the condition of your vehicles before driving, especially the steering wheel, brakes and lights,” it added.

However, the road safety working group expressed optimism that drivers, particularly factory bus or van drivers would respect traffic laws and ensure safety in order to reunite with their family members for the traditional celebration.

In a circular issued by Siem Reap provincial police chief Teng Channath asked motorists to maintain order on the roads and note that new roads, traffic signals and lights are being installed in the city.

“Motorists and the public are prohibited from displaying any kind of equipment on public roads, especially pedestrian crossings and bicycle lanes, which might obscure traffic signals,” Channath said.

In a previous report, the National Police shared that 493 people were killed and 1,262 people sustained injuries, 784 of them seriously, in the first quarter of 2022.

The report said the number of fatalities in the first quarter of 2022 had risen to 493, compared to 433 in the same period last year.