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Nighttime checkpoints on the way

Nighttime checkpoints on the way

INTERIOR Ministry officials plan to establish permanent nighttime traffic checkpoints in the capital and two provinces beginning August 1 as part of a bid to curtail drunken driving, the chief of the ministry’s Land Traffic Police said yesterday.

Speaking on the first day of a two-day conference on drunken driving and helmet use, Luy Chhin said the checkpoints in Phnom Penh and in Kampong Speu and Kandal provinces would be placed in areas that see frequent crashes.

“We must deploy more police forces at night to test for alcohol levels of drunk drivers,” he said, and added that police would make use of breathalysers provided by donors including Australia.

Under the initiative, which is expected to be expanded into other provinces and to eventually be made permanent, police will man the checkpoints between 7pm and 10pm, Luy Chhin said. There will be 15 in Phnom Penh, six in Kandal and four in Kampong Speu, he said.

The Road Crash and Victim Information System, which collects data from traffic police and health facilities, recorded 12,538 crashes last year, resulting in 21,519 casualties. Of those casualties, 2,353 are believed to have been caused by drunken driving.

RCVIS project manager Sem Panhavuth said yesterday that most crashes caused by drunken driving occurred between 6pm and midnight, with a peak between 6pm and 8pm. “In drunk-driving crashes, most of the fatalities are motorbike riders,” he said.

The Land Traffic Law calls for fines ranging between 6,000 riels and 25,000 riels (about US$1.50 to $6) for drunken driving, depending on vehicle type.

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