Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol requested greater cooperation with the ministry’s mobile scale working group to prevent overloading of vehicles which causes damage to roads.
In the first six months of this year, 1,430 overweight vehicle owners or drivers were issued fines worth more than 2 billion riel (around $500,000), ministry data showed.
Chanthol made the call while chairing a meeting at his ministry via video conference on July 14 that was held to review the progress, challenges, solutions and requests of the ministry’s various subordinate units.
“For overweight transport, we request the relevant authorities to cooperate with the ministry’s weighing team – especially the mobile weighing team – to prevent illegal overweight transport.
“I request that the capital-provincial transport departments help by holding on to the vehicles that they impound for this reason for one year in the appropriate manner and not release them early,” he said.
The minister said the government would step up enforcement against overweight vehicles. He suggested that the Department of Information Technology and Public Relations cooperate with the media to inform the public about the relevant laws and remind them that any vehicle carrying more than 20 per cent over the legal load limit will be impounded for one year.
Chanthol said this must be done to provide transport companies with a clear understanding of the legal provisions and penalties involved before increasing the level of enforcement, which must be carried out to help maintain strong roads and avoid criticisms that allege that the roads are always under repair.
Chanthol, showing a detailed knowledge of his ministry’s area of purview, recited the formula for overweight transport fines and concluded that “one truck that is overweight by 10 tonnes is equivalent to 10,000 cars running on that road, which causes erosion and lowers the road’s lifespan”.
“But some trucks are overweigh by more than 30 tonnes . . . and one truck carrying more than 30 tonnes is therefore the equivalent of nearly one million additional cars driving on our roads,” he said.
Chanthol instructed the secretariat to lead the inspection of overweight trucks and to work with the IT department on the use of new technology to detect these overweight vehicles.
Ministry spokesman Heang Sotheayuth said on July 15 that in the first six months and 12 days of this year, officials fined 1,430 overweight trucks more than two billion riel. Of the vehicles fined, 162 were impounded for one year.
He said officials stopped most of the trucks in Kandal, Kampong Speu, Battambang, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Thom and Kampong Cham provinces.
“The ministry will launch an overweight transport management system using cameras and an AI [artificial intelligence] software programme – as well as weight in motion sensor technology – to monitor and prevent overweight vehicles,” he said.