The National Road Safety Committee (NRSC) said since the new traffic sub-decree was implemented, there has been a considerable drop in road traffic accidents thus far in March compared to February.

NRSC spokesman Chhuon Von said since the government introduced stricter traffic law enforcement, increased the presence of traffic police at key crash hotspots and implemented the higher fines for violations, traffic accidents have dropped considerably.

“So far in March, traffic accidents have killed 109 people and injured another 289. This number has dropped compared to February where there were 139 killed and 383 injured in road accidents,” he said.

He said of the 383 who were killed or injured, 243 were not wearing helmets.

However, fears over the Covid-19 outbreak, he said, may also have contributed to the decline in the accident rate.

Asia Injury Prevention Foundation director Kim Pagna told The Post on Monday that after prevention measures to stem the spread of Covid-19 were disseminated by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO), there had been a significant decrease in traffic.

“What we want is for everyone to obey traffic laws as they prevent accidents, rather than being afraid only in front of the traffic policeman and violating the law behind his back.

“We need to respect traffic laws and implement accident prevention measures regularly, just the same as we practice our hygiene to prevent diseases. To make the people follow traffic accident prevention measures, everyone must participate.

“Everyone should support and practice obedience to traffic laws, and educate those who do not practice it,” he said.

The Ministry of Rural Development’s Traffic Safety Education Project director, Kong Sovann, said local communities undergoing traffic law education were part of a wider movement to get people involved in traffic law enforcement in Cambodia.

On March 17, the government issued a new sub-decree on temporary fines for road traffic violations in the Kingdom.

Sovann said according to the sub-decree, motorcyclists who do not wear helmets will be fined 60,000 riel ($15), while drunk drivers will be fined 75,000-150,000 riel ($20 to 40$).

However he said so far, few people were aware of the full scope of the sub-decree.

Therefore he urged people, not only officials or government agencies, but civil society personnel and the private sector to help disseminate the new sub-decree widely in their communities.

“According to the experience of developed countries, enforcing harsher fines is the only way to enforce the law most effectively,” he said.

Sovann said the decrease in traffic accidents during the last few weeks was due to three factors – the enforcement of traffic laws, the new sub-decree, and the government’s outbreak prevention measures regarding Covid-19.

“People are afraid of contracting Covid-19 and therefore staying indoors. At the same time, the traffic police have put in place strict traffic enforcement mechanisms. The release of a new sub-decree has significantly reduced the rate of traffic accidents too.

“However, it is only obeying traffic laws regularly that will reduce accidents. Reducing our road mortality rates is a priority to achieve the UN plan of reducing the death rate on our roads to zero by 2030,” he said.