The Ministry of Public Works and Transport has given the Kingdom’s driving schools a one-year deadline to improve their training facilities for those seeking a licence to drive heavy trucks, after a wave of accidents involving cargo vehicles.
Chhuon Vorn, director-general of the General Department of Land Transport, told The Post on November 29 that driving schools were instructed to open training areas so candidates could learn how to drive heavy trucks.
He said if driving schools did not develop areas to train heavy truck drivers, the ministry would only allow them to train candidates to drive cars. There is no requirement for training areas for family cars, he added, because such teaching could be done in any open area or road.
Vorn continued that after a ministry working group had inspected some schools’ training areas for heavy trucks, the owners had requested a one-year deadline to rent or buy land to develop the required training facilities.
It was agreed that after one year, the working group would inspect driving schools to make sure they had the necessary facilities and to observe their teaching methods.
Vorn said the working group closed more than 10 driving schools. He said he did not know exactly how many driving schools were operating in Cambodia.
Chhim Chamnan, president of the Cambodia Bus Association, said that in the past no Cambodian driving schools had training areas for heavy truck drivers.
“I used to ask drivers where they learned to drive, and they always answered that they had rented or borrowed a car and merely learned by [watching] others,” he said.
Chamnan said driving schools had been instructed to improve their training areas for heavy trucks to reduce the number of road accidents in Cambodia.
Kong Ratana, director of the Institute for Road Safety, said if driving students had no training areas, they would only be learning from books and lectures. He said learning to drive required practice behind the wheel.
Thou Khim, manager of 23 Tola Driving School, welcomed the ministry’s new requirement for heavy truck training.
“The ministry has required driving schools to rent or buy land so students can practice driving heavy trucks. I personally support the driving schools that have these facilities.”