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Plan aims to cut road deaths

Plan aims to cut road deaths

Every day, five people die in traffic accidents in Cambodia – a number the government is hoping to reduce with a new policy aimed at cutting traffic accidents by 50 per cent in 2020.

The National Policy on Road Safety, passed by the Council of Ministers on Friday, is an expansion of the existing Road Safety Action Plan for 2011-2020.

But while it will see the budget for the project quintupled, from $2 million a year to $10 million a year, specifics provided to the Post yesterday were thin.

Under the new policy, Cambodia will implement the United Nations’ five road safety strategies, as well as three Cambodia-specific plans, according to Men Chansokol, chief of international relations at the National Road Safety Committee.

Chansokol said the new policy includes schemes to enforce driving licence laws, create an organisational body to oversee all public transportation and improve traffic law enforcement, though he did not expand on precisely how those goals would be accomplished.

San Chey, Cambodian representative for the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific – which in 2011 led a coalition of NGOs in pushing for improved road safety – said that while more money devoted to the issue could be “helpful”, lack of enforcement and education remain the biggest issues.

“The government usually issues many recommendations to reduce traffic accidents, but the laws are not well enforced. If law enforcement is not made more accountable and the corruption issue stopped, then traffic accidents will remain a major problem and Cambodians will keep getting killed.”

Ear Chariya, road safety program officer for Handicap International Belgium (HIB) in Cambodia, also said follow-through was the key.

“[W]ithout detailed implementation strategies … it cannot be accomplished.”

Road accidents claimed 1,912 lives in 2013, according to the Ministry of Interior.

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