Minister of Interior Sar Kheng confirmed that a working group is drafting an entirely new road traffic law to replace the current one which he said requires so many changes to address problems associated with law enforcement.
Sar Kheng explained that amending the existing Law on Road Traffic would be more complicated than simply drafting a new version.
“I’d like to briefly mention that currently the National Road Safety Committee (NRSC) is doing a careful study on proposed amendments to the road traffic laws.
“But amendment might be the wrong word in this case because there are too many changes that need to be made to easily amend it so there is the possibility that a completely new law will be written,” Sar Kheng said while presiding over the 16th Remembrance Day for traffic accident victims held in Kampong Cham province’s Cheung Prey district on December 23.
Sar Kheng, who is also the NRSC chairman, said Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of state Toch Chan Kosal is leading the group tasked with drafting the new law.
“We have made changes to this law several times already, but when we actually attempted to enforce it, we discovered other flaws and then we amended it again.
“After enforcing the current version of the law for the past four or five years, we’re running into problems that are making it difficult for law enforcement officials to continue to fully implement it. Nobody is really in the wrong or to blame for this – it’s just that it might be easier to make a new law,” he said.
According to Sar Kheng, road traffic accidents were on the increase once again following the government’s reopening of the country on December 1 due to improvement in the Covid-19 situation in Cambodia.
He said most accidents are caused by speeding, disregarding other vehicle’s right of way, overtaking dangerously or not stopping at intersections, and around 10 per cent of accidents are caused by people using their phones while driving.
He explained that 78 per cent of the road traffic deaths were people on motorbikes, partly because up to 90 per cent of motorists do not wear helmets, while around 52 per cent of car drivers and passengers do not fasten their seatbelts.
Chhuon Von, head of the public works ministry’s General Department of Road Transport, said on December 22 that there are currently more than six million vehicles on the Kingdom’s roads – more than 944,000 cars, trucks or vans and over five million motorbikes.
Kim Pagna, country director of the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation, said the prospective road traffic law could make it a lot easier for law enforcement officials to do their jobs if the new law covers all aspects of roads, traffic and driving so that they do not to rely on portions of other laws in order to regulate activity on the nation’s roads.
“I support amending or making a new law on road traffic to make it easier to enforce for our officials ... but until the new law is ready, I urge our traffic police to diligently enforce the existing one and try to reduce the number of road casualties,” he said.