The number of road traffic accidents and casualties across the country jumped in October, with 340 injuries and 140 deaths recorded, according to Minister of Interior Sar Kheng.
Sar Kheng attributed the jump to increased road use as the Covid-19 situation has improved.
October saw a total of 243 road accidents nationwide, 23 more than the previous month, or 10 per cent. The number of injuries totalled 340, up by 66 compared to September, or about 24 per cent. The death toll rose to 140, an increase of 21 from September, or about 18 per cent.
“Expert officials concluded that the jump in traffic accidents and casualties in October was due to the increase in traffic after the Covid-19 situation had improved.
“The increase in casualties was caused by speeding at 38 per cent, disrespect for the priority rights of other road users at 27 per cent, disobedience of the right-of-way rule at 16 per cent, as well as dangerous overtaking and drunk driving,” he said.
Sar Kheng noted that although the number of road accidents in October slightly decreased compared to the same period last year, fatalities had increased by about 26 per cent, or 29 deaths.
Sar Kheng urged the public to obey road traffic law at all times while travelling.
“As chairman of the National Road Safety Committee, I would also like to remind all relevant authorities to enforce the law without exception as it is your duty to protect the safety, security and lives of the people,” he said.
Institute for Road Safety director Kong Ratanak agreed that the improved Covid-19 situation was the contributing factor to the increase in traffic accidents as more people had resumed travel.
But he added that despite the situation, Covid-19 restrictions had not been fully imposed.
Sar Kheng expressed concerns that when the country fully reopens, the number of road accidents will continue to increase as some drivers’ attitudes may not improve. He said this requires more public participation in preventing accidents.
“We saw an increase in the number of accidents even amid Covid-19 restrictions when there was less travel. How about when the country reopens? The number of accidents will likely increase even further,” he said.
Ratanak noted that an average of four people were killed in road accidents amid government-imposed Covid-19 restrictions, and when the country partially reopened, the number increased to an average of five deaths per day.