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Next year fine for helmet penalties

Traffic police direct motorists outside a polling station in Kandal province in July
Traffic police direct motorists outside a polling station in Kandal province in July. KARA FOX

Next year fine for helmet penalties

Road-safety advocates will likely continue banging their heads against the walls as police in Cambodia wait until early next year to enforce a new traffic law relating to helmets.

Fines under a yet-to-be passed law will charge drivers and passengers $3.75, about five times the previous cost to offenders.

But police have not yet received definitive orders to resume issuing fines under the current law after the practice stopped during recent election campaigning, said Long Meng Se, Kampong Cham’s provincial traffic police chief.

“Since the election, we have not yet been ordered to fine people on helmet violations,” Meng Se said in an interview yesterday. “It will start again next year.”

Traffic police in every province have been instructed on helmet safety and are educating the public, Meng Se said, but tacking on fines has yet to ramp up.

“We are educating travellers about wearing their helmets while riding,” Meng Se said. “But we do not fine them.”

Kampong Speu provincial traffic police chief Sin Sovannthy yesterday said he is also waiting for orders from higher-ups to begin enforcing helmet fines. But in Kampong Speu too, police have embarked on a public awareness campaign, reminding drivers and passengers to wear their helmets.

A similar approach has been taken by Preah Sihanouk provincial traffic police chief Prum Pov, he said, stopping people not wearing helmets without holding them to the fines.

“Even though we do not issue fines, we keep enforcing the law requiring helmets,” Pov said.

Chev Hak, Phnom Penh traffic police chief, declined to comment.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transportation will send the law to the inter-ministry and council ministry for further review, said Pov Maly, deputy director of the ministry’s general department of transportation.

“I cannot assure anyone that this new law will be approved,” Maly said. “But we really want to see it approved as soon as possible.

The first 10 months of 2013 saw 3,609 reported traffic accidents, a decrease of 56 cases, when compared with the same period last year, said Preap Chanvibol, director of the Land Transport Department at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.

1,589 people died and 3,478 were seriously injured, Chanvibol added.

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