The Road Safety Working Group for Worker Protection recorded more than 5,000 road accidents involving factory workers in 2022, with more than 150 killed and nearly 6,000 others injured.

The figures were revealed in a report presented at a December 23 meeting to review the work carried out in 2022 and to review plans for 2023 by the working group, which is administered by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF).

Heng Sophannarith, deputy director-general of the NSSF, said road accidents continue to occur after the reopening of all sectors post-pandemic. They remain a concern for the government, especially accidents that affect workers who use mass transit to commute.

According to the report, this year saw 5,158 road accidents with 6,051 victims. Of the total, 156 people were killed and 5,895 others were injured, 1,624 of them seriously.

“In order to increase the efficiency of its implementation plans for next year, the working group examined the challenges it faced to find solutions to the issue. Key inputs that could contribute to the safety of workers who travel in buses, trucks and vans were discussed in depth, said Sophannarith.

Trade Union Alliance president Fa Sali said there are many factors that cause such accidents, including unethical, inexperienced or untrained drivers, disobedience of the law and illegally modified vehicles.

“Some people drive under the influence, do not have valid driver’s licences or deliberately flout the law. Sometimes, once drivers drop workers to a factory, they sit together and drink beer until it is time to return the workers to their homes. Others carry out dangerous modifications to try to fit more passengers in their vehicles,” he noted.

Sali urged all stakeholders, including factories, drivers, as well as the government, to work together to find solutions and put measures in place that would reduce the number of such accidents.

Overall, at least 1,739 people died in traffic accidents across the country in 2022, an increase of more than 20 per cent over 2021, according to the National Police report.

The report indicated that there were three categories of factor that contributed to accidents – people, vehicles and roads. The majority of accidents were attributed to human factor, including excess speed, a failure to keep right or give way, disregarding traffic lights or signs, and driving under the influence.