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NRSC: Drivers found to be on drugs up by 50%

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The wreckage of a crash between a truck and a van carrying garment workers sits in Kampong Speu province in June. National police

NRSC: Drivers found to be on drugs up by 50%

The National Road Safety Committee (NRSC) said on Tuesday that the number of truckers testing positive for drugs has surged by 50 per cent in the first six months of the year compared to the same period last year.

The deputy head of the NRSC, Him Yan, said this when addressing 100 representatives of the Kingdom’s transportation sector which moved goods and passengers.

“We checked nearly 700 drivers and drivers’ assistants, and 94 of them or 14 per cent tested positive [for drugs]. They were transporting heavy goods,” he said.

Yan said last year, the number of operators that tested positive in the first six months was around half its current total.

“I don’t remember the total number of drivers and assistants that were checked, but in the first six months of last year, there were some 47 drivers or assistants using drugs.

“We have asked the company owners to check their drivers and monitor their daily driving. They need to provide driver biographies to the National Police,” he said.

Yan said that drivers found to be under the influence of drugs while driving their vehicles would be charged under the law.

“It is our prevention method. Speeding remains the main cause of accidents at 36 per cent, while six per cent of the cases were attributed to drunk driving,” he said, urging companies to administer drug tests and background checks on their drivers.

‘Poor enforcement’

Ear Chariya, the founding director of the Institute for Road Safety, said having drug users behind the wheel is an enormous risk “because they cannot control their driving”.

Chariya said many drivers and assistants took drugs in order to stay awake through the night on the Kingdom’s main roads.

“The authorities called on employers, but they should regularly check the national roads too. People are aware of the consequence but still violate the law because enforcement is poor,” he said.

Phnom Penh Sorya Transport chief finance officer Tann Kimhourt said his company, which employs around 100 drivers and assistants, administers drug tests upon recruiting new workers.

“We give them a urine test, if we find [they are using drugs] we will not offer them a job. And even after they become employees, we conduct drug tests every three to six months because we really care about the safety of our clients,” he said.

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