The National Road Safety Committee (NRSC) has called for the public to exercise caution on the roads while travelling during the traditional Kan Ben and Pchum Ben festivals. The festivities began on September 30 and will end on October 15, Pchum Ben Day.

A September 30 notice from the committee explained that while traffic accidents are always a threat to road users, causing far too many tragic losses of life, injuries and damage to property, the road toll often climbs around the time of national holidays.

The NRSC called for the Kingdom’s drivers and motorcyclists to play their part in reducing the road toll by observing speed limits and driving to the conditions. It specifically warned drivers of the increased risks associated with speeding, urban areas and unfamiliar roads.

“The main cause of accidents is speeding. Please respect one another by reducing speed and giving way to those vehicles which have the right of way,” they said.

Vehicle drivers and their passengers must wear seat belts, and all motorcyclists and passengers must wear helmets, the letter added.

Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation country director Kim Pagna noted that regrettably, many people remained negligent about protecting themselves, with some people not wearing helmets, or disobeying road traffic laws.

He called for stricter law enforcement, particularly for cases involving speeding, dangerous overtaking, drunk driving and a failure to wear a helmet.

“If possible, I would also like to request that liquor companies reduce advertising during the religious festival,” he said.

“I believe the government should impose restrictions on alcohol advertising during the last three days of the festival, as they did during the most recent general election,” he added.

He also requested the leaders of both the government and the private sector to organise campaigns which encouraged their subordinates to respect the rules of the road.

According to a report by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, in the first eight months of this year, traffic accidents killed 1,015 people in 2,126 road accidents, with 1,775 serious injuries and 1,016 minor ones. It noted that while this represented a nine per cent decrease on the same period last year, it was still too high a price to pay.