Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Nearly 1,800 die on roads in 2017



Nearly 1,800 die on roads in 2017

A wrecked car that was attacked by a mob after it hit and killed three people in Phnom Penh last year. Some 1,780 people died in traffic accidents in 2017.
A wrecked car that was attacked by a mob after it hit and killed three people in Phnom Penh last year. Some 1,780 people died in traffic accidents in 2017. National Police

Nearly 1,800 die on roads in 2017

It has been almost a year since Phon Darany, 35, lost her husband to a horrific road accident by Phnom Penh’s riverside. Her two young daughters, aged 3 and 4, don’t know anything about the circumstances of their father’s death.

“They just keep asking for papa,” she said yesterday.

Her husband, Sroy Nika, a journalist at the Cambodian News Channel (CNC), was just one of 1,780 people killed in traffic accidents in the Kingdom last year. In all of 2017, there were only three days without a recorded death on Cambodia’s roads.

The figure is a marginal increase on the 2016 death toll of 1,717, though it represents a drop from the death toll in 2015, which exceeded 2,200.

Although there was an uptick in deaths last year, there were fewer accidents and injuries, with 3,531 accidents recorded in 2017 compared with 3,700 in 2016, resulting in 5,539 injuries, down from 6,607.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

Run Rath Veasna, head of the Interior Ministry’s Department of Traffic and Public Order, downplayed the increase in deaths. “If we look at the new vehicles that get registered, the number of deaths on average is not high because every month, more than 20,000 vehicles get registered,” he said.

Drink driving and speeding were the main causes of death on the roads and the vast majority were motorcyclists, he said. “If we look at last month, the death of motorcyclists was up to 133 people [out of 163] . . . and out of these 133 deaths, 110 were driving without a helmet.”

As part of a national action plan, Cambodia pledged to halve its 2010 road death toll (of 1,816) by 2020, aiming for a decrease of 5 percent per year. But Ear Chariya, founding director of the Institute for Road Safety, said it was increasingly unlikely Cambodia would reach that target.

“We observed that in 2017, there was almost no enforcement on drink driving and speeding,” which are key factors in more than 60 percent of road deaths, Chariya said.

He added that the lower death toll in 2016 and 2017, after spikes in 2014 and 2015, could not be wholly attributed to the patchy implementation of the new Traffic Law and may not represent the true figure, as Handicap International no longer assisted the government with data collection as it had in the past.

For the widowed Darany, a lack of respect for the traffic law and the ambivalence of the authorities were to blame for her husband’s death.

“From the day he died to today, the traffic is still bad. I want the authorities to make the law more effective in 2018. I don’t want people to lose their lives and family members,” she said.

Additional reporting by Erin Handley

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Time to Rise by rapper, chapei legend is viral hit with ancient-modern mix

    Kong Nay is known internationally as the master of the chapei dang veng, a traditional Cambodian instrument resembling a long-necked lute or guitar with two nylon strings that he was already playing professionally by the age of 15. Nay is sometimes referred to as the Cambodian

  • Cambodia set for large-scale vaccination campaign as Covid spreads

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed all provincial authorities to get ready for a large-scale vaccination campaign, with at least one million doses to be administered per month. “We will roll out at least one million doses. The vaccines we have purchased and received as