More than 100 people were killed and 276 injured in road accidents in the first 21 days of February, prompting the National Road Safety Committee (NRSC) to repeat its call for road users to respect the traffic laws in the interests of public safety.
According to the National Police report, 188 accidents occurred during the period, resulting in at least 107 deaths and 276 injuries, 164 of which serious. Among the injured, 204 people were not wearing helmets despite ongoing public education.
The report attributed the leading cause of fatal accidents to speeding, which caused 44 deaths. This was followed by failures to keep right at 17; traffic violations and collisions at 14 each; making dangerous turns at five; driving under the influence at seven; and vehicle malfunctions at six.
The death toll had dropped by 16 – or 13 per cent – when compared to the same period of the prior month.
Min Manavy, Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of state and NRSC secretary-general, said on February 22 that the decrease was largely due to an information campaign called for the previous month. Road traffic sub-commissions in the capital and provinces had been actively educating people and enforcing the law, she said.
She called on road users to respect the law and traffic safety standards. They should not break speed limits and must respect other vehicles’ right of way and must not perform dangerous overtaking manoeuvres, drive while drunk or encroach on the pavements, she added.
“The authorities should not have to enforce rules which we all know – please, be responsible citizens and respect the law. The Kingdom is developing steadily and is at peace, and we must act like it,” Manavy said.
Asia Injury Prevention Foundation country director Kim Panga said on February 22 that January had many holidays, most notably New Year’s Eve, and after the government began to reopen the country, the number of road accidents increased dramatically. However, he believed that the measures taken by state institutions to step up education and tighten enforcement of the laws had resulted in a decrease in February.
“Both Prime Minister Hun Sen and Minister of Interior Sar Kheng have pushed for tougher measures, and we have seen a corresponding decrease in the number of accidents. However, we should be aware that the number is still too high,” he said.
Panga encouraged the government to continue enforcing the law in a consistent, comprehensive and transparent manner. He also asked that the public respect traffic rules.