After a year-long period of grace, police yesterday began enforcing Cambodia’s new traffic law, ticketing almost 3,000 motorists across the country.
According to director of the Interior Ministry’s department of regulation
General Run Roth Veasna, as of 2pm, 1,750 traffic police working at 172 locations had stopped 7,519 vehicles, a sevenfold increase on an average day last year.
Some 2,925 were fined, most commonly for not wearing a helmet or lacking registration documents while the rest were “educated” and let on their way, he said.
Police impounded 109 motorbikes without licence plates and one homemade truck. Phnom Penh registered the most infringements, more than 600.
“It is just the first day; I think tomorrow there will be more,” Veasna said.
Officially approved in December 2014, the law aims to tackle the horrendous death toll on the Kingdom’s roads.
As of yesterday, the number of passengers on a motorbike is restricted to one adult and one child, who must also wear a helmet if they’re over three years old.
Fines for speeding, disobeying traffic signs, drunk driving and other infractions have also increased five-fold.
The ticketing officer gets 70 per cent of the fine, though, in a bid to cut down on corruption, police can no longer collect cash on the spot.
Veasna said those penalised had 30 days to pay their fine at one of 166 designated offices, before the price was doubled. After 90 days, the case is sent to the court. “We check their ID cards, we know where they live and we will track them down,” Veasna said.
Yesterday, a marked increase in passengers wearing helmets could be seen on the streets of Phnom Penh.
Though non-compliance was still widespread, as motorists without helmets and with too many passengers cruised past traffic police officials, who told Post Weekend only enforcement teams were able to ticket motorists.
“I have no authority to issue tickets. I do not even have tickets,” said Samnang Phallar, 55, a highway patrolman for 20 years standing on Sisowath Boulevard.
Vieng Deth, 37, was among several traders peddling cheap Vietnamese helmets, yesterday, saying she had sold 30 before 3pm.
The city’s motodops also began adjusting yesterday. Waiting for fares on National Road 5, Chea Veasna, 28, said he bought a $2 helmet in the morning.
“I tell my passenger to wear it otherwise we both get fined,” he said.
Authorities announced they would hold off on cracking down on unlicensed drivers to allow more time for people to obtain a permit.