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Road deaths to rise: minister

People inspect a vehicle after it crashed into a ditch in Preah Vihear province
People inspect a vehicle after it crashed into a ditch in Preah Vihear province this year. In the first 10 months of this year, traffic accidents in Cambodia have claimed the lives of more than 1,700 people. Heng Chivoan

Road deaths to rise: minister

Cambodia’s deadly traffic accidents are projected to rise this year.

Based on data collected up to the 10-month mark, government officials predict 2014’s traffic fatalities will outstrip the count for the previous two years.

From January to October, 1,772 people died on the road, and some of the deadliest months for accidents lie ahead, according to the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation.

Last year, a total of 4,353 accidents resulted in 1,950 deaths, and more than 5,000 serious injuries. In 2012, 1,966 people were killed in road crashes.

But 2014 has so far surpassed the previous daily average of five traffic fatalities per day.

“There is only a month and a half more. But the month of December [usually] has a high rate of people dying from traffic accidents, so I think the number … must be higher than last year,” said Minister of Public Works Tram Iv Tek.

“I estimated there will be between 2,000 and 2,100 people killed in 2014.”

Iv Tek recommended setting a goal for a 10 per cent per annum minimum decline in traffic accidents, but warned that with an increase of travellers on the roadways each month, the country’s fatalities would never drop to zero.

Every month, an estimated 20,000 new motorcyclists and 2,000 new car drivers pack onto the country’s roads. The increase of vehicles means an inflated chance of an accident, Iv Tek said.

About 50 per cent of traffic accidents are attributable to speeding, with another 13 per cent caused by alcohol and other reasons, the government figures show.

Of those killed, 70 per cent were moto drivers.

In Cambodia, about 1,200 families are affected every month by deadly accidents by losing a loved one, having to take time off work or taking on the expense of injuries and vehicle repairs, according to Kong Sovan, representative from the Global Road Safety Partnership.

“People who typically get into [fatal] accidents are between 15 and 44 years old; we lose the potential of [working-age] people to develop the country,” he said.

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