At least 310 people were killed and 1,077 others injured in road accidents in the first two months of this year, according to the National Road Safety Committee’s report released on Wednesday.
Of the 693 traffic accidents nationwide, the majority were reported in Phnom Penh, where 52 people were killed, followed by Kandal and Kampong Speu provinces, where 27 and 21 were killed respectively.
The report said 78 per cent of the dead, or 241 people, were motorbike drivers, 188 of whom were not wearing a helmet.
Speeding and traffic law violations were cited in the report as the main cause of accidents.
“In the first two months of this year, traffic police nationwide stopped 264,854 vehicles for inspection, 59 per cent of which were motorbikes."
“Of the total, 44,939 drivers were found to have violated traffic laws, 15,471 were educated and 29,468 were ordered to pay fines worth a total of 698,085,000 riel [$173,530],” the report read.
The report said so far this month there have been 230 traffic accidents, killing 134 people and seriously injuring 173.
On Tuesday alone, traffic accidents totalled 19 cases nationwide, claiming 15 lives, according to a separate report released by the National
Police’s Traffic and Public Order Department on Wednesday.
One death was reported in the capital, three in Kampong Chhnang province, three in Tbong Khmum province and two in Prey Veng province. Battambang, Preah Sihanouk, Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Kandal and Koh Kong provinces each reported one death. Seventeen motorbikes, 11 cars and five heavy trucks were damaged in the accidents.
Besides speeding and traffic law abuses, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is also a significant factor in increasing road accidents.
Speaking at a Phnom Penh Municipal Hall annual meeting on Tuesday, Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said some drivers were found to be under the influence of drugs while driving. He said drivers on drugs were most likely to disobey traffic laws and cause accidents.
“I think at least 10 per cent of heavy truck drivers use drugs while driving,” he said.
Kampong Chhnang provincial police chief Khov Ly told The Post on Wednesday that authorities had worked with institutions to publicise traffic laws and raise awareness.
“We are continuing to provide education on traffic laws and road safety to locals by various means, including billboards along the roads. We have also distributed helmets and pamphlets containing information on traffic signs,” he said.
Uy Mab, a senior official at the Ministry of Rural Development’s Road Safety Promotion Department and a member of the National Road Safety Committee, told The Post on Wednesday that people living in rural areas are the main target of public awareness-raising campaigns.
“Most of them still have limited knowledge of traffic laws and signs. But in all cases, we urge both motorists and pedestrians to be attentive while travelling,” he said.