The General Department of Traffic and Public Order reported 53 accidents – including 28 deaths and 85 serious injuries – during Pchum Ben holidays this year. The holiday, along with the Khmer New Year are dubbed as a “road danger day” by authorities.
The government report identified speeding, sleepiness, overtaking, and vehicle errors as the main causes for the accidents during road danger days. The Kingdom reported 1,780 deaths last year.
“Each year, millions of people die or suffer from injuries caused by road accidents,” said Phirum Hay, country head for Bosch Group –the German supplier of technology and services–known to many as an auto parts manufacturer. “Many accidents could be prevented by equipping vehicles with modern safety systems.”
Figures provided by The World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed that 90 per cent of the world’s fatalities on the roads occur in low- and middle-income countries, even though these countries have approximately 54 per cent of the world’s vehicles.
At last count, the Ministry of Works and Transportation said that there were 3.7 million vehicles registered in the Kingdom, including motorbikes, which remain the wheels of choice for Cambodians.
Still, a growing middle-class and flush wallets have spurred demand for cars. Eighty per cent of the cars on Cambodian roads are bought second hand, often supplied by a grey-market which operates on buying low and selling high. The result is that many of the vehicles operating on the Cambodian roads would fail most Western safety inspections.
Figures provided by the WHO said that traffic accidents cost countries about three per cent of their gross domestic product.
The study revealed that financial loses arise from the cost of treatment as well as lost productivity for those killed or disabled and for family members who take time to care for the injured.
Bosch, which pioneered innovations like Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) in 1978 and Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), is aiming to introduce new technology to curb traffic-related fatalities.
Hay said that Bosch is working towards creating higher awareness of the critical needs for road safety. The firm has partnered with NGOs and invested heavily in R&D to invent life-saving technology for motorists including Driver Assistance Systems which include features like: Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane Keeping Support (LKS), and Side View Assist (SVA), which help drivers in confusing or critical traffic situations.
The company hopes that the technology will be as widely adopted as ABS and ESP, which are equipped in 74 per cent of new cars. Bosch said that ESP has prevented over 260,000 fatal accidents in Europe alone since it was adopted.
The new innovations hope to reduce accidents which can be attributed to human error – those make up for about 90 per cent of all collisions.
AEB for instance, is capable of analyzing traffic ahead and applying partial braking to reduce speed. “If the driver fails to respond, AEB will apply full braking to avoid rear-end collision,” said Hay.
LKS, meanwhile, utilizes the video camera to identify lane marking to ensure that the drivers are staying in their lane.
SVA –or commonly known as blind spot technology– displays warnings on signals on the drivers’ side view mirror. Blind spot technology is a part of the ASEAN New Car Assessment Program, which means that it is one of the requirements in obtaining points to achieve highly-valued star ratings for auto manufacturers.
“Bosch continues to make substantial research and development investments, focusing on creating technologies that save lives. This includes inventing products and solutions that make roads and vehicles safer,” said Hay.