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Road fatalities climb ‘sobering’ 33% in first half

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Interior minister Sar Kheng (centre) at a meeting to review the results of road safety work at the public works ministry on August 18. SAR KHENG VIA FACEBOOK

Road fatalities climb ‘sobering’ 33% in first half

At least 942 people were killed and 3,664 seriously injured in road accidents in the first six months of 2022, according to a new report by the National Road Safety Committee (NRSC).

The report was tabled in the NRSC’s August 18 meeting held to summarise its achievements and future direction. The report said the casualties were the result of 1,609 accidents, with more than half of the accidents taking place at night.

When compared to 2021, increases in these “sobering” statistics were seen across the board. The number of accidents rose by 28 per cent, while fatalities were up 33 per cent. The number of injuries also jumped – by 25 per cent.

Speeding was adjudged as the main contributing factor in 38 per cent of the crashes, with 24 per cent of accidents attributed to traffic law violations. A failure to keep right and careless overtaking were each responsible for 11 per cent of crashes, with the remainder blamed on poor cornering, driving under the influence, mechanical issues or fatigued drivers.

Of the fatalities, 81 per cent were motorcyclists – 74 per cent of them helmetless.

According to the report, police had tightened the enforcement of traffic regulations and issued 88,932 fines, netting more than $1.87 million for state coffers.

In the same six-month period, capital-provincial inspection teams inspected 30,150 vehicles, and discovered that 5,302 had mechanical issues.

Mon Manvy, secretary of state at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said that despite the ongoing fight against Covid-19, the NRSC still continued to work hard to prevent traffic accidents and educate the public.

Transport minister Sun Chanthol, who is also permanent vice-president of the NRSC, said that in the second half of the year, the committee will carry on with educational campaigns and distribute helmets and reflective stickers.

Sar Kheng, Minister of Interior and chairman of the NRSC, noted that after the government declared the Kingdom reopened, the number of traffic accidents and fatalities had risen. This was due to an increase in the number of vehicles on the road as socio-economic activities resumed, he added.

He said it is important to provide context. In the decade between 2011 and 2020, Cambodia reduced its road toll by an estimated 64 per cent. The NRSC regarded even a single death as one too many, he added, saying that it needed to address the challenge of road safety effectively and responsibly.

He said the causes of this year’s accidents and fatalities made it clear which issues need to be tackled, in particular speeding and a lack of helmet use.

“We are concentrating on the most obvious issues first. It is always necessary to educate the general public, but my personal view is that those directly involved enforce discipline and the law very strictly,” he said.

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