Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed police to form a Telegram group for people to provide tips to them regarding law-breaking drivers as a means to reduce the number of road accidents in 2022.

“Is it possible for the road traffic authorities to do this? We allow our police to form the Telegram group so that the people help report these bad drivers and they can send the pictures to that Telegram channel that we keep open on standby.

“Can we do that? This is the idea that I received from a public opinion suggesting that we have a channels to receive information,” he said while presiding over the groundbreaking ceremony for a major infrastructure upgrade project on the 148km National Road 48 running from Preah Sihanouk to Koh Kong province.

He ordered that Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol discuss the idea with Minister of Interior Sar Kheng about the forming of the group.

Hun Sen said that on January 2 alone, road accidents killed 14 people and injured 17. The number was high compared to the fatalities from Covid-19 at this point, he noted.

“We should form a Telegram group for the provincial police stations or the National Police and whenever people see an offence related to speeding or driving the wrong way, they can capture the vehicles’ number plates and then send them to the group.

“We should do this because the only thing people fear enough to make them obey the laws are the police. When they are approaching the police station they drive slowly, but upon leaving the station, they accelerate to high speeds. Logically, only those who travel on the roads with those who break the law can identify the culprits.

“But we can’t just immediately arrest them. They have to be called in for questioning about the incident after we’ve got their number plates. We show them evidence of it with the photographs in hand. That’s the plan that I’ve just come up with to contribute to a reduction in the number of road accidents in 2022,” Hun Sen said.

According to the National Police, in the first two days of this month a total of 29 people were killed and another 17 injured in road accidents.

Kim Panga, director of the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIP), supports Hun Sen’s initiative. He urged relevant institutions to enforce the laws consistently even during festivals and holidays and to especially target major national roads where accidents occur frequently.

“I call on the government to deploy law enforcement officers including mobile patrolling and intervention groups along with the officers doing traffic facilitation during festivals because when citizens know that officers are monitoring them, they will be more attentive,” he said.