A car driver who drove erratically on the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway has had points deducted from his driving licence in addition to fines.

To date, demerit points have been added to over 7,000 licences across the Kingdom, according to Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol.

In the expressway case, police fined the driver on October 27 and deducted four demerit points from his licence – for his erratic driving and because it was discovered that his license had expired.

Speaking at an October 27 press conference, Chanthol reminded all drivers – whether on the expressway or any of the nation’s roads – to strictly obey traffic laws and drive safely to avoid traffic accidents and keep the public safe.

The 187.05km expressway has three lanes – a normal lane for all kinds of vehicles, an overtaking lane and an emergency lane. Vehicles should not travel in the emergency lane. It passes through Kandal, Kampong Speu and Koh Kong provinces and takes drivers around two hours to reach Sihanoukville.

During the one month free trial period of the expressway, traffic police stopped several drivers.

The drivers were stopped for exceeding the speed limit, driving slower than the speed limit, travelling against traffic or using the emergency lane. Some banned vehicles were also pulled over, along with several drivers who were under the influence of alcohol. Those who stopped in the emergency lane to take photographs were also reprimanded.

Kim Pagna, country director of the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation, recommended that the ministry enhance safety on the expressway by educating drivers and people living near the road.

He said that the ministry should strengthen the enforcement of traffic laws, increase vehicle safety checks and be prepared to render first aid.

The ministry and the company administering the expressway – China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) – allowed people to use the road for free for the month of October. During the trial, up to 20,000 vehicles travelled on the expressway each week.

CRBC began charging tolls on November 1. “We will discount travel fees by 20 per cent for the first year of operation. Tolls are calculated by vehicle type and the distance travelled,” it said.