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Fatalities from traffic accidents up: report

People inspect vehicles that were involved in a traffic collision last year in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district.
People inspect vehicles that were involved in a traffic collision last year in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district.

Fatalities from traffic accidents up: report

National Police statistics yesterday showed an 11 percent increase in road traffic deaths in the first nine months of the year but a small decrease in injuries.

The National Committee for Road Traffic Safety yesterday released its nine-month report, which documents 420 deaths from traffic accidents this year, as compared to the 382 fatalities for the same period last year, an 11 percent uptick. In that period, 1,216 people were injured in accidents, a small drop from the 1,388 injuries reported last year. Kandal, Kampong Thom and Phnom Penh had the most fatalities.

New amendments to the Land Traffic Law went into effect last year, which included stricter fines for not wearing seat belts or helmets, or driving a car without a licence. The law was watered down, however, with a last-minute change relieving motorists from needing motorcycle licences for two-wheelers of 125cc or less.

Phnom Penh Municipal Traffic Police Chief Chev Hak said the police are implementing the law but need the cooperation of drivers as well. “Our officials introduced and educated them very often about the law . . . But our people, especially the drivers, do not practice and respect the law,” he said.

Kong Sovann, head of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, said the high death rate could be attributed to lax law enforcement, non-compliant motorists and even Cambodia’s road conditions.

“But the important thing is the road and transportation users need to know and respect traffic. The roads should be widened and smoothed as well,” he said.

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