Thirty-five people were killed in road accidents in Cambodia during the Lunar New Year holiday, a report from the National Police released on Monday said.
Cambodian roads saw 48 accidents during the three-day holiday, the police said.
On January 24, the National Police registered 13 road accidents, in which 12 people died and 17 were injured. Of the fatal cases, 11 were riding a motorcycles and one was driving a car. Nine of those on motorcycles were not wearing helmets.
January 25 saw 22 accidents, killing 14 people – 13 motorcyclists and a pedestrian – and injuring 22 others. Seven of those who lost their lives on a motorbike were not wearing helmets.
On the last day of the holiday, January 26, the number of accidents reached 13, with nine casualties and 12 people injured. Seven motorcyclists, none of them wearing helmets, a car driver and a pedestrian were killed.
On Monday, Phnom Penh Police chief and Deputy National Police chief Sar Thet met with several police departments to discuss a set of recommendations issued by Interior Minister Sar Kheng to improve road safety.
Thet suggested that special forces be deployed at critical junctions around the city to strictly enforce the law. After a week, the results of the initiative would be studied to ascertain if it successfully reduced road traffic accidents. If so, it would be adopted nationwide.
He instructed police to be more thorough when fulfilling their duties and to pay closer attention to foreign drivers, particularly those driving vehicles with military and police number plates.
National Road Safety Committee secretary-general Him Yan could not be reached for comment on Monday.
Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation director Kim Pagna expressed concern over the number of casualties recorded during the holiday. He said they were mostly caused by speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and not wearing helmets or seat belts.
“In addition to enforcing the law, officers must do more to educate the public. We must find ways to instil in people the importance of driving safely,” he said.
Last year, 4,121 road accidents were registered on Cambodian roads, leading to 1,981 deaths and 6,141 people injured. An average of 5.4 people were killed on the road each day.