Police on Tuesday impounded an overloaded container truck that damaged a barrier in the capital’s Stung Meanchey overpass causing a traffic snarl-up, while the driver was sent to the Phnom Penh Municipal Police station.
A civil society group later called on authorities to take harsh action against owners of the vehicles and truck drivers who drive in the city during restricted hours.
The truck, travelling west to east, became stuck on the overpass because it was too high. The driver then tried to reverse out but damaged the barrier on the side of the road.
Phnom Penh Municipal Police chief Sar Thet told The Post on Tuesday: “We followed the directive issued by Phnom Penh Municipal Hall by detaining both the truck and its driver.
“The truck is currently impounded, but I don’t know which company owns the truck. I only know that it belongs to a transportation company."
“Some areas follow the directive [which prohibits large vehicles from entering Phnom Penh between 5am and 9pm], while in some areas – such as Chamkar Doung Street and Tomnup Kob Srov road where there are many warehouses – we cannot prevent trucks and containers getting in.”
Thet said drivers and shipping companies should follow the municipality’s directive and not enter the city during prohibited hours.
“The [exemption] only [applies] on the outskirts of the city. Inside the city, they must follow the directive and follow the schedule."
“I have ordered serious action regarding this issue, but people at the lower level cannot enforce it properly because our team has multiple tasks to work on."
“When some officials don’t enforce the law, people claim that our policing is not effective. Our team has accomplished so many things, but people focus on things that go wrong,” he said.
Thet said he would strictly enforce traffic laws, especially regarding large trucks entering the city during restricted hours.
“We need to maintain social order. For example, I have told trucks carrying dirt to put covers on top, not drive too fast, drive on the correct side of the road and use signals when turning."
“I have informed all the companies and some of the drivers and I will try to enforce this even more,” he said.
Phnom Penh Municipal Hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey said it had issued a directive setting the schedule for which “times [large vehicles] can enter and what time they cannot enter and which routes they can and cannot use . . . We have ordered some policemen to stand by in targeted areas to enforce the policy”.
Asia Injury Prevention Foundation director Kim Pagna said the authorities should take strong action and issue heavy penalties to transportation companies whose vehicles enter the city at the wrong time.
“I think serious measures should be taken against truck and container companies . . . The authorities should focus on the possibility of using cameras installed in traffic lights to identify [drivers who break the law] and take action."
“They have already installed many cameras on the main streets,” he said.