Over the course of last year, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport inspected over two million vehicles, citing over 580,000 for being overloaded and impounding 17.
A total of 2,109,330 vehicles were inspected last year, of which 586,103 were overloaded, amounting to 27.79 per cent, a slight decrease of 0.97 per cent from 2019’s 28.76 per cent, according to a report from the ministry’s Permanent Axle Overload Control Committee (PAOCC) released at a year-end review meeting.
Ministry spokesman Pal Chandara told The Post that the decrease in the ratio of overloaded vehicles was due to strict law enforcement by officials without any exception.
“We take legal action, regardless of whether the driver is a regular person or a powerful individual. Those who we catch, we fine and possibly impound their vehicle.
“We advise drivers that the law dictates fines for loads less than five tonnes over the limit and impound for vehicles more than five tonnes overloaded. As a result, drivers are afraid to overload their vehicles and reduce their loads,” Chandara said.
“Whether it’s transporting goods or sand, people seem inclined to overload lorries if they think they can get away with it. Our roads are built to standards – for example, a road can support a load of 30 tonnes, but some people have attempted to transport up to 80 tonnes which damages the road,” he explained.
He added that the ministry consistently calls on transporters to obey the law and be mindful of the safe limits of roadways to ensure that they remain in good condition.
Road safety expert Kong Ratanak agreed that the drop in the ratio of overloaded lorries indicated officials’ efforts to better enforce the law.
“It shows that the ministry is not silent – it is actively working on the issue. This report cannot be our only measurement, however. The number of vehicles increases every year. Overloading is something we should prevent to avoid damaging roads which can also help prevent traffic accidents,” he said.
He also urged authorities to enforce the law more effectively by eliminating the corruption among some officials who harm the public interest by siphoning funds.
Rattanak cited official statistics indicating that road deaths and accidents declined last year, describing the results as positive, though progress remains to be made.
He added that the ministry did not encourage the overloading of vehicles, but some opportunistic traders paid bribes to officials to let their overloaded vehicles bypass legal restrictions.
The ministry’s report noted that vehicles overloaded by less than five per cent amounted to 582,814, and vehicles overloaded between five and 10 per cent totalled 79; 2,166 vehicles were between 10 and 20 per cent over capacity while another 1,044 were more than 20 per cents overloaded.
Meanwhile, the PAOCC is preparing to open two new weighing stations – one on the second ring road on the outskirts of the capital and another in Kratie province. The PAOCC will construct additional stations in the near future.