During the three-day Pchum Ben holiday, the country witnessed 58 road traffic accidents, leading to a toll of at least 20 fatalities and nearly 80 injuries, as reported by a senior official from the National Police.

National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun told The Post on October 16 that this year’s October 13-15 holiday marked a substantial increase in overall accidents, with 24 more cases compared to last year’s 34, a rise of around 71 per cent, but a decrease in death toll.

“Over the course of three days, the road accidents led to 22 fatalities and a combined total of 79 minor and major injuries.

“The death toll decreased by five while the number of injuries increased by 22 in comparison to the same period last year,” he said.

According to the National Police report, road accidents were mainly caused by speeding, failure to yield the right of way, improper lane keeping, dangerous overtaking, driving under the influence of alcohol and disregarding traffic lights.

Phnom Penh municipal police spokesman Sam Vichheka told The Post on October 16 that the traffic situation in the capital had shown improvement during the holiday, with 23 road accidents recorded, nine of them fatal. This marked a decrease compared to the same period last year when 13 fatalities in 37 cases were logged.

“The overall traffic situation in the city has seen improvement, with enhanced security, order and traffic safety. We have actively promoted road traffic laws within the educational system and reinforced the enforcement of these laws, resulting in better understanding and compliance,” Vichheka said.

Kim Pagna, country director of the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIP), on October 16 said traffic accidents pose a significant challenge during the festive season, as increased travel leads to a higher incidence of alcohol-related accidents.

Addressing this necessitates effective measures and rigorous law enforcement to reduce road traffic accidents, he added.

“I observed that while the overall number of accidents and injuries remained high, the number of fatalities has decreased compared to the same period last year,” he noted, attributing the drop in death toll to the collective efforts of media outlets in raising public awareness,”he said.

He urged the relevant authorities to prioritise the enforcement of traffic laws during major national holidays and hold accountable those who disregard these laws, in order to minimise accidents.