A TRANSPORTATION official has ruled out the possibility of Cambodia reaching an ASEAN goal of reducing traffic fatalities to seven per 10,000 vehicles for 2010, citing a lack of funds for safety initiatives and difficulties faced by police in enforcing the Land Traffic Law.
“We will not achieve the goal because our capacity is still young,” Ung Chun Huor, director general of the Transportation Department at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said at a workshop in the capital on Friday. “We have insufficient funds and a lack of human resources to promote traffic safety.”
He added that the government was hoping to secure enough support from donors to reach ASEAN road safety goals with longer time frames. The regional body has called for road deaths to fall to five per 10,000 vehicles by 2015 and two per 10,000 vehicles by 2020.
Ung Chun Hour could not recall the amount of money the government had received to promote road safety last year. But Sann Socheata, road
safety programme manager for the Cambodia office of Handicap International Belgium, said yesterday that Cambodia was receiving about US$1 million per year for traffic safety projects across the board, an amount she said was too low to meet the ASEAN goals.
Though she did not have precise figures at hand, she said the death rate for the first half of this year was likely “more than 12 per 10,000”.
The focus of the workshop was on increasing the number of motorbike drivers who wear helmets and decreasing the number of drunken drivers.
Chev Hak, deputy chief of the municipal traffic police, said officials were still intent on setting up nighttime checkpoints to curb drunk driving on October 1. National Police chief Neth Savoeun had originally called for the checkpoints – to be located in Phnom Penh and in Kandal and
Kampong Speu provinces – to begin operating at the beginning of September. But Chev Hak said the plan had been pushed back one month so that police could receive training on how to man checkpoints and operate breath analysers.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KEELEY SMITH