Daun Penh district authorities in Phnom Penh have decided to ban car sales on public roadsides and given car sellers a deadline of three days to move their vehicles or risk having them towed away to the impound lot.
In a notice issued on June 8, district governor Sok Penh Vuth said his administration was taking these measures to maintain public order on the district’s roadsides.
After the lockdown in Phnom Penh was lifted, he said the administration observed that a small number of people had parked their cars on the roadsides to advertise them for sale. The authorities said this is detrimental to the district’s appearance and public order – and that it is causing heavy traffic congestion on the roads affected.
“In order to maintain order and beauty – and acting in the interests of the public – the administration has decided to establish some rules regarding this activity and so we are no longer allowing cars or any other kind of vehicles to be put up for sale on public roadsides,” the notice said.
The governor gave the car dealers a three-day period – starting on the date of the notice and running through June 12 – to move their vehicles from their current locations on public roadsides.
Kong Sovann, a public health specialist and director of the International Safety Fund Programme, said that sales on public roadsides narrowed the roads and could cause traffic congestion.
The congestion not only costs time, affects worker productivity and wastes money, but vehicles sitting in traffic jams also have to consume more gasoline and cause additional environmental pollution via their emissions.
Drivers whose commutes are lengthened due to traffic can suffer from higher levels of stress and anxiety which affects their overall health, he said.
Given those facts, Sovann said he supported the commune and district administration measures and that the authorities should also set a very specific timeline for the changeover and establish clear penalties for those who do not comply.
“I believe that this intervention will be effective because the purpose of it is clearly in the public interest: maintaining order, maintaining the city’s beauty and reducing traffic congestion,” Sovann said.