Prime Minister Hun Sen has repeated his calls for people to respect traffic laws so that they will not suffer the tragedy of a serious traffic accident – as the number of road casualties increases against the backdrop of zero deaths from the pandemic.

On February 6 alone, eight deaths and 14 serious injuries from traffic accidents were reported.

“Covid-19 has not killed anyone for more than a month now. Previously, it killed more people than road accidents. Yesterday, 11 accidents killed eight and injured 14. The virus has not been responsible for a single death in more than a month, but poor decision making on our roads kills people every day.

“I am calling on all of our people to respect the road laws because no one has the right to put themselves or others in danger. If someone is injured or even killed, no amount of tears can undo what has already happened. Please be mindful of this ongoing issue,” he said at the inauguration of an upgraded section of National Road 7 in Kratie province on February 7.

He called on motorcyclists to always wear helmets and reminded people not to use mobile phones while riding a motorcycle or driving a car.

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng – who is also chairman of the National Road Safety Committee (NRSC) – said recently that NRSC may release new traffic laws soon, as the older rules required amendments.

Kim Panga, country director of Asia Injury Prevention Foundation, said on February 7 that following the post-lockdown reopening of the country, accident statistics had increased in all categories, including the total number of accidents and casualties.

“To deal with this, we need two approaches. In the short term, we must change the current entitled behaviour of too many drivers. Then, we need to cultivate an attitude of respect for traffic laws and fellow road users among the young,” he said.

He added that if a culture of respect becomes ingrained in the young now, then we will be sure to see improvements across the board in the next 10 to 20 years.