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Uptick in road accidents recorded

Uptick in road accidents recorded

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Vehicles wrecked in road accidents lay broken in a field behind Municipal Police headquarters in Phnom Penh on Thursday.

Monthly increase comes after Ministry of Interior announces delay in traffic law enforcement

TRAFFIC officials are blaming an increase in drunken driving for a jump in the number of traffic accidents in Phnom Penh last month.

According to Pen Khun, deputy chief of Phnom Penh's Traffic Police, there were 52 traffic accidents in June compared with 43 in May. These accidents resulted in 11 deaths and 59 serious injuries.

"Most of the traffic accidents are caused because people got drunk and sped," he said.

The news of an increase in accidents comes as police say they have once again pushed back the date they will begin ramping up traffic enforcement efforts.

According to a new directive signed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng, Traffic Police will start enforcing the 2007 traffic law on August 1, including the provision that prohibits drunken driving.

Chev Hak, deputy chief of the Traffic Police, said any driver with a breath analysis reading of more than 0.39 milligrams of alcohol per liter of air would go to court.

The 2007 law stipulates that a drunk driver can be sent to prison for between six days and six months and fined between 25,000 and 1 million riels (US$238). The punishment for refusing a breath test is a jail term of between six days and one month and fine of between 25,000 and 200,000 riels.

Pen Khun said his police are working hard to inform people about the dangers of drunken driving, but he said people often ignore traffic laws at night, when there are few police officers out on the roads.

"Even though we have breath analysis machines, the number of accidents still increases," he said. "At night time, people think there are no police to fine them, so they don't think about their safety."

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