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Road traffic law amendments await approval

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Traffic jam near Preah Monivong Bridge in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district on April 8. Hong Menea

Road traffic law amendments await approval

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport’s working group plans to submit a draft law on road traffic after holding 19 debates on the amendment and revising many articles found in the existing law.

The latest meeting was held for two days on August 3-4 chaired by public works minister Sun Chanthol.

It was attended by senior officials from several relevant institutions, including Ministry of Justice secretary of state Kim Santepheap, Ministry of Interior secretary of state Ouk Kim Lek and deputy National Police chief Him Yan, among others.

According to the public work ministry, all of the meetings were held to collect input and comments to consider while drafting amendment to the law on road traffic before it is submitted to interior minister Sar Kheng, who is also chairman of the National Road Safety Committee.

The transport ministry said that as a result of the 19 meetings, 48 out of 92 articles of the law have been amended. They agreed to compile the content and edit the wording to be clearly understandable and then planned to get approval on the draft law from Sar Kheng thereafter.

Speaking during the meeting, Chanthol said the recent tightening of road traffic law enforcement and the increase in fines for offences were not intended to be profitable and the government only wants to see drivers and pedestrians safe and free from accidents, injuries and death.

“Traffic accidents leave people disabled, women widowed, children orphaned and all of them vulnerable to poverty,” he said.

Chanthol also said his ministry, in cooperation with the interior ministry, has been developing a programme to track driving offences and traffic fines individually with a point reduction system that could eventually cost the offenders their driver’s licence.

The transport ministry is preparing an inter-ministerial prakas on the procedures for this scoring system and its implementation.

Transport ministry spokesman Heang Sotheayuth told The Post that the existing law was written in 2007 and has gone through many amendments since then so a new law was needed to reflect new developments in society.

“Now, we are doing another round of amendments, but there are too many amendments to the law’s articles. So, the best thing is to compile a new law and submit it for approval and request promulgation from his majesty the King,” he said.

But he said it depends on Sar Kheng’s final approval as to whether they would have a completely new road traffic law or just make amendments.

Kim Panha, director of Asia Injury Prevention Foundation Cambodia (AIP Foundation), supports making amendments to the traffic laws. But for now, he suggested that the implementation of existing laws be stricter, more consistent and transparent to ensure that the law was protecting citizens from traffic accidents.

“If possible, I think the government should consult with partner organisations working in the field of traffic to provide input,” he said.

Panha said AIP Foundation has many points to provide as input such as those related to tuk-tuks, which a large number of people use daily, and setting the maximum speed limit to 30km per hour for all types of vehicles around schools.

He also urged the ministry to require that motorcyclists receive driver’s education, because traffic accidents among them remain high.

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