Prime Minister Hun Sen and National Police chief Neth Savoeun instructed relevant authorities and officers to serve the people by focusing on facilitating traffic flow and maintaining order on roads and at destinations during the 15-day Pchum Ben Observance this year.

On September 12, the second day of observance, or Kan Ben, Hun Sen further reminded the authorities at all levels to increase security, public safety and order, and facilitate traffic for travellers and tourists during the festival.

"This is a time when Buddhists have the opportunity to perform meritorious deeds and gather with their relatives in various places, especially in pagodas," he said in a social media post.

Separately, in a voice message addressed to the National Police’s traffic department and police commissariats across the country on September 11, Savoeun said large numbers of people will be travelling on roads to their hometowns for gatherings and to pagodas for the festival, which will cause increased traffic congestion.

"Provide beneficial services to the people during the Pchum Ben season. Our main priority is to facilitate traffic flow, maintain security and keep public order for all travellers on the roads or at various destinations. And adjust your attitudes, words and behaviours accordingly," he said.

Kim Pagna, director of the Asian Injury Prevention Foundation (AIP) in Cambodia, supported the National Police chief's recommendation because more traffic jams and accidents usually occur over the Pchum Ben holiday.

To address the problem of traffic congestion in places that were jammed in previous years, he suggested that the relevant authorities take two additional measures. First, there should be mobile patrols to intervene and facilitate traffic on the roads wherever it arises. Second, they should use cameras to assist in facilitating the traffic because the cameras will provide them with timely information to alert patrols or nearby authorities who can go and facilitate traffic in a timely manner.

Pagna urged authorities to continue prioritising road traffic law enforcement as some people tend to flout it during the festive season.

"Speeding, driving under the influence, overtaking dangerously, not respecting the right of way and direction of traffic, and not wearing helmets and seatbelts are what people sometimes ignore as they just try to reach their destinations fast," he said on September 12.

Pagna also requested that traffic police officers disseminate news about traffic accidents more widely through radio and television channels, leaflets and other social media to remind people of the dangers involved.