Education officials and road safety specialists have expressed support and encouragement for the introduction of traffic law resources in schools, in a bid to educate students and reduce accident rates.
The Cambodian Red Cross (CRC) recently installed one such resource, a “traffic safety park” at Chea Sim Santhor Mok High School. The specially designed playground space features displays which teach students about the Kingdom’s traffic laws, as well as the meaning of different road signs.
Hem Sinareth, director of the Phnom Penh Municipal Department of Education, Youth and Sport, lauded the initiative, saying an understanding of traffic laws and official signs is important for all road-users.
“Wherever possible, traffic signs should be placed in schools. I hope it will help students gain a better understanding about the law, and also reduce traffic accident rates,” he said.
“The Phnom Penh Municipal Department of Public Works and Transport has been in touch with us, and we have given them an initial list of schools where signs can be installed. I am really pleased that someone came up with this idea,” he added.
Kim Pagna, director of the Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation, supported the CRC’s work – as well as efforts by school management committees – to enhance students’ understanding of the Kingdom’s traffic laws, especially at the high school level.
“Understanding the meaning of road signs is very important. I believe resources like the CRC traffic safety park should be established in as many schools as possible,” he said.
He also suggested that regular instruction sessions could be held for students, perhaps before or after the morning flag hoisting routine, or after school hours.
Pagna also raised his concerns about another issue he has observed – a noticeable number of both primary and high school students who do not wear helmets when travelling by motorcycle.
“The inclusion of an education programme on helmet wearing and respect for traffic laws should be rolled out across the country. Measures – perhaps including warnings and fines – should also be introduced to ensure that the students learn to respect the law,” he suggested.
The first CRC traffic safety park will be officially inaugurated at the end of this month, with the organisation announcing that it plan to install two similar spaces at high schools in Preah Sihanouk province by year’s end.