Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Traffic police: Turning right on a red not subject to fines

Traffic police: Turning right on a red not subject to fines

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Traffic light seen near Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh’s Prampi Makara district in July. Hong Menea

Traffic police: Turning right on a red not subject to fines

Passing through a yellow traffic light or turning right on a red when the way is clear are two areas that drivers and over-zealous police officers in the bustling capital cannot seem to agree on, prompting high-ranking officials to weigh in and advise their subordinates to tolerate these two types of misdemeanours, as long as they are done safely.

Municipal police spokesman San Sokseyha has confirmed that a letter was issued on August 13 to traffic police officers instructing them not to fine drivers in such cases.

“If a traffic light is red and they turn right when the way is clear, we should not pursue them and fine them. It almost appears like motorists are targeted at some intersections. As for yellow light runners, they should be educated, especially if there are pedestrians present, but do not fine them,” it said.

“Overall, drivers’ behaviour is improving and our educational way of enforcing the law is paying off. There may be a few officers who are excessive in enforcing the law, so we have sent this instruction out to remind them of our policy. If any officers are still not getting the message, we will call them in for special training,” said Sokseyha.

Phnom Penh delivery driver Sok Bropov said that despite the instructions, not all traffic police were following them. Generally, when they stopped a vehicle, they found fault so they could impose fines. He expected that this instruction would be observed, but predicted that the police would revert to their “old ways” after a short time.

“Matters involving the police are very hard. These instructions keep being issued, but we, the public, keep getting fined. Overall, it feels like they are just looking for ways to make money from us. It is only when there is some kind of major reaction that these instructions are issued once again, and the fines stop for a short time,” he said.

Phen Sovan, another driver who had been caught passing through a yellow light himself when the light changed without warning, welcomed the instructions.

He said some traffic lights display a countdown timer, so people know the lights are about to change, but some do not. He believed that this leads to many drivers inadvertently running yellow lights.

“Certain traffic lights have warning numbers, but others do not. It is difficult to judge the traffic lights without the numbers. As soon as the pedestrian light comes on, the light turns yellow,” he said.

Sun Chheko, a resident in the capital’s Kamboul district, said when the lights change to red or even yellow, motorists had best stop, whether turning right or otherwise.

“I once passed through an intersection against a yellow light and was stopped by traffic officers. Even though I spoke politely with them and apologised for my error, they fined me 100,000 riel [$25],” he said.

Kim Pagna, country director of Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation, said on August 15 that traffic police should undergo more training and that tough action should be taken against any officers who do not follow the instruction. They should be replaced by officers who understand their roles.

He added that if possible, officers stationed at busy intersections should spend their time instructing motorists and advising them of the law.

“I think it is good to raise people’s awareness … If people hear something from a police officer every time they pass the same traffic lights, they will most likely remember what they are told. Signs that warn against turning right on a red might be advisable at some intersections,” he said.


  • Newest horror film showcases unique Khmer culture, identity

    At first glance, the trailer to new horror sensation The Ritual: Black Nun looks like a western-produced feature film. As the story reveals itself to the viewers, it becomes clearer that this is a Khmer film, with a strong Cambodian identity and close links to

  • Ministry orders all schools, public and private, to close for SEA Games

    From April 20 to May 18, all public and private educational institutions will be closed to maintain order and support Cambodia's hosting of the 32nd SEA Games and 12th ASEAN Para Games, said a directive from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. Cambodia will host the

  • Almost 9K tourists see equinox sunrise at Angkor Wat

    Nearly 9,000 visitors – including 2,226 international tourists – gathered at Angkor Wat on March 21 to view the spring equinox sunrise, according to a senior official of the Siem Reap provinical tourism department. Ngov Seng Kak, director of the department, said a total of 8,726 people visited Angkor Wat to

  • Angkor Beer strengthens national pride with golden new look and fresher taste

    Angkor Beer – the "Gold of Angkor" – has a new look, one that is more stylish and carries a premium appeal, as well as a fresher taste and smoother flavour, making it the perfect choice for any gathering. Angkor Beer recently launched its new design, one

  • Water supply authority assures public shortages over early ‘24

    The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) asked for understanding from Phnom Penh residents in some communes where water pressure is weak. They assured residents that all supply issues will be resolved by early 2024, but have suggested that residents use water sparingly in the meantime.

  • Khmer ballet documentary debuts April 1

    A new documentary, The Perfect Motion, or Tep Hattha in Khmer, will premiere to the public on April 1. The documentary film follows two intertwined storylines: the creation of a show called Metamorphosis by the late Princess Norodom Buppha Devi (her very last production) and the