Five people are dead and another three other hospitalised with serious injuries following a May 14 mid-afternoon head-on collision between an SUV and a two-wheeled hand tractor and cart.

The accident took place near Srak commune’s Tamao village in Kampong Cham province’s Kampong Siem district.

Srak commune police chief Soeun Saravuth said witnesses described how a grey Nissan Frontier was attempting to overtake another vehicle when it collided with the tractor and cart, which was carrying eight people.

The driver of the car, 32-year-old Prum Kimneang, from the province’s Prek Preah Ang village in Stung Trang district, was accompanied by his wife and two children. None of them suffered any serious injuries.

The eight people on the cart hailed from Doun Tor village, in the same district as Kimneang. Three women and a man were killed instantly, with the remaining four passengers rushed to hospital. One subsequently died of their injuries.

“We have not questioned the driver of the car, as a specialised unit will handle the investigation. The driver is assisting the district police with their inquiries, so you should direct your questions to them” Saravuth told The Post.

Kampong Siem district police chief Ek Pandorn said on May 15 that officers had been dispatched to the scene as soon as the alarm was raised. The deceased were returned to their families, while the injured were taken to hospital.

He added that the inquiry was ongoing, and no responsibility had yet been apportioned.

“I cannot comment on possible blame until the investigation has reached its conclusion,” he said.

Asia Injury Prevention Foundation country director Kim Panga said on May 15 that the most important measure that can be undertaken to reduce the road toll is stricter law enforcement. He believed that drivers will only change their reckless behaviour when law enforcement is strict and transparent.

He noted that traffic accident rates had seen a marked reduction from 2016 to 2020, as traffic laws were enforced more widely.

“I encourage stricter policing in all provinces. The road toll is decreasing in some provinces, but increasing in others, so we are not yet meeting our goals,” he said.

He added that in addition to law enforcement, other measures should be employed, including education outreach programmes that teach road users what their responsibilities are, and detail the Kingdom’s traffic laws.

“Improved infrastructure, including lighting and signage, regular vehicle inspections and improved emergency services will also help to bring the toll down,” he continued.

According to Panga, road safety education is more effective for young children, as some adult drivers are unlikely, or unwilling, to change their habits.

He added that mainstreaming traffic laws in primary schools will ensure children develop good habits that they will carry with them into adulthood.