Minister of Interior Sar Kheng on Tuesday discussed some of the changes he wants to see in the Traffic Law, including heavier punishments for those caught driving under the influence (DUI).
Sar Kheng, who is also chairman of the National Committee on Road Traffic Safety, said he wanted drunk drivers’ licences to be withheld.
He made the remarks at an annual meeting of the National Committee on Road Traffic Safety, where he stressed the importance of having traffic police enforce the regulations.
Sar Kheng said drivers are not afraid of breaking the law because current punishments are too lenient. He called for amendments to the Traffic Law to impose heavier fines on offenders.
"Currently, fines are too low. I suggest that the first time drivers commit an offence, we punch a hole in their driving licence. We punch a second hole if they break the law again.
“The third time, the licence is revoked and the driver is not allowed to drive for one or several years and joins a blacklist," he said.
"Those who drive under the influence of drugs should be banned from driving for life because drug addiction cannot be cured.
“Drug users should not be allowed to drive," he said, adding that companies that employ drivers who use drugs should also be punished.
Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation country director Kim Pagna said he supported heavier fines for road violations but opined that revoking a licence for life for drug users was going a step too far.
"We should give them a chance to reform. We can take their licence away for a few years and then require them to take the driving test again if they want to drive. Before a new licence is issued, they should take a blood test to ensure they are clean," he said.
A report from the General Department of Road Traffic Safety of the National Police said 1,981 people died and 6,141 were injured in road accidents last year. On average, 5.4 traffic-related deaths were recorded that year.
Phnom Penh had the highest number of deaths with 348 people killed, followed by Preah Sihanouk and Kandal provinces, with 149 and 143, respectively.
The traffic accidents were caused by speeding (38 per cent), not following road signs (23 per cent), not giving way (13 per cent), overtaking without considering road conditions (nine per cent), drunk driving (five per cent), vehicle-related factors (two per cent), and drowsiness (one per cent).