The announcement last month that traffic cops will collect 70 per cent of fines they give out has already seen enforcement increase, according to a senior official at the Interior Ministry.
Speaking yesterday, General Run Roth Veasna, director of the ministry’s Department of Order, said tickets from patrolmen have begun rolling in at higher volumes, while the government’s campaign to raise awareness about the new Traffic Law is now fully under way.
“The order department has received a lot of fine receipts, which means the police are now working hard and faithfully,” he said.
According to Veasna, the government is reaching out to schools, universities, workplaces and rural communities to promote road safety and warn people about the new law, which was passed in January this year but is set to be enforced in January 2016.
“We have banners, posters, and commercials about the advantages of using helmets to make drivers’ lives safer, and we are also working together with NGOs and the media to promote this new law”.
One of those NGOs is the Coalition for Road Safety, whose director Lim Sochea yesterday welcomed the awareness campaigns under way, but called for more to be done on already pressing problems.
“We see a lot of traffic accidents during national festivals and holidays; these issues needed to be addressed,” she said.
The Traffic Law will see current fines increased five-fold and introduces new rules, including the compulsory use of helmets on motorbikes by passengers, where currently only the driver must wear a helmet.
But members of the public quizzed yesterday had mixed reactions about how effective the awareness campaign has been so far, and whether they think the new law will make Cambodia’s treacherous roads safer.
“I have noticed banners promoting the Traffic Law, but at the same time I have seen many banners and posters promoting beers. I find that concerning,” said student Seng Puthika.
While bank worker Arex Dy fears hefty penalties could actually make roads less safe as drivers desperately try to escape them.
“This may cause more insecurity along the road when people try to escape from police and keep on driving fast”, he said.
“I’m also concerned that police will find any excuse to stop drivers and give them a finel”.
On average, more than six people die on Cambodia’s roads every day, with a report released by Handicap International in July stating that speeding had increased in prevalence between studies.