In the first three months of this year, at least 859 road accidents were recorded, resulting in 486 deaths, 779 serious and 459 minor injuries. The figures are alarming on their own, but even more concerns are raised when they are compared to the previous year’s numbers, according to Min Manavy, secretary of state for the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
Manavy, who is also secretary-general of the National Road Safety Committee, told The Post on March 31 that the figures were taken from a provisional report by the National Police. Of equal concern was fact that 866 of the people involved in accidents were helmetless on a motorcycle.
She said that numbers had increased in all measurable categories when compared with 2021. There were 65 more deaths this year, she said, and 105 more accidents.
“This data is worrying. We call on all road users to respect the traffic laws and regulations we have in place. They are there for very good reasons. We need to work together to reduce these figures as we are losing too many of our people to preventable accidents. Society now lives under the shadow of peace, so we why are we holding so many funerals for lives that were needlessly lost?” she said.
Asia Injury Prevention Foundation country director Kim Panga said that the increase in the number of deaths and injuries was a sign that attention needed to be paid to the problem. Now that Cambodia had returned to normal, people were once again travelling in great numbers, he said.
He suggested the number of accidents was high due to an increase in the volume of traffic. He also called for tougher enforcement of road rules. If stronger, more comprehensive measures were taken, the number of accidents would be reduced, he said.
“The measures we implement in response to the increased flow of traffic will have important consequences in the future. In my view, the simplest course of action would be to continue to tighten enforcement of the law. If it is done consistently and transparently, it will contribute towards changing the mindsets of drivers,” he said.
Panga encouraged individuals and civil organisations to contribute to the government’s measures by promoting education and behavioural change among families and workmates.
“There should be advertising campaigns running which remind parents that children learn their behaviour from their parents. Parents should get into the habit of making sure that their children always wear helmets, for example, while workplaces should create internal rules demanding safety on the roads,” he said.
Interior Minister Sar Kheng, who also heads the National Road Safety Committee, issued a March 30 announcement on social media, reminding the nation that road safety remains a national challenge – with an average of 5 deaths and 10 serious injuries each day. He noted that while road deaths were increasing, deaths from landmines, HIV/AIDS, and even Covid-19 were on a sharp decline.
He renewed his calls for all road users to respect the rules of the road – and each other.
“Hundreds of thousands of free road traffic law handbooks have been distributed throughout the country and leaflets and banners have been extensively utilised to get our message through. Despite this, there are still many road users who will not heed this wise advice. While most people are respectful tolerant drivers, there still exists a small number whose reckless behaviour threatens the safety of the rest of us. This must stop,” he said.