Four Cambodians and three foreign nationals were injured when a Rith Mony company passenger bus careened off the road and into a dry creek bed on Tuesday night in Banteay Meanchey province’s O’Chrov district, police said yesterday.
Sar Song, O’Chrov district police chief, said the bus was travelling from Poipet town to Phnom Penh at night and was hit by heavy rain en route.
“The bus careened into the creek nearby the road of Koub village at 7:20 pm, because it had swerved off the road to avoid a truck that was driving on the wrong side of the road, overtaking other vehicles,” Sar Song said, adding that the driver had fled the scene and authorities were searching for him.
Four Cambodians and one Italian woman were seriously injured and taken to the Cambodia-Japanese Friendship Hospital in Banteay Meanchey’s Mongkol Borei district, Sar Song said, adding that passengers interviewed said the bus driver was not speeding, but that the rain had been very heavy.
“Even if drivers aren’t speeding, they have to be careful and pay attention, especially don’t allow their bus to cross into oncoming traffic,” Sar Song said.
Sam Vichet, a service assistant at Rith Mony Bus Company, said the company had called all drivers and the staff to a meeting yesterday after the recent high-profile traffic accidents caused by company buses.
“We regret what has happened so far, but we reinforced to our staff, especially to the drivers, to pay attention to their speed and attitude during driving,” Sam Vichet said.
“We are really worried about losing clients when they know about traffic accidents caused by Rith Mony buses,” he added.
Sam Vichet said that the company has plans to install a monitoring system to follow and control the drivers and their speed, and also install cameras in order to prevent future accidents.
On Monday, the Ministry of Interior called for all bus companies to install black boxes in their buses to monitor drivers’ behaviour and speeds after a series of fatal bus crashes this year.
The ministry’s department of public order director, Him Yan, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Earlier this week, Koh Kong provincial court charged a bus driver from Paramount Angkor Express, the sister company of Rith Mony, with careless driving in the wake of a crash that resulted in two foreigners’ deaths and sent him to prison pending further investigation.