The Ministry of Public Works and Transport has refused a request from heavy truck drivers to change the Road Law regarding load restrictions. The request came after drivers staged a protest on July 20 regarding the amount of soil a truck can transport.
“The Overloaded Vehicle Control Committee has instructed drivers about the law, standard letters and given them time before taking strict measures in accordance with the law,” the ministry said in a press release on July 21.
Owners and drivers of 200 dump trucks staged the protest to request that the amount of soil a truck can transport should be increased to between nine and 15 tonnes, depending on the truck type.
The group also requested that the ministry only fine trucks and not seize vehicles then impound them for a year in cases where the load was 20 per cent in excess of what the law permitted. They also asked that the ministry return previously confiscated trucks.
But transport minister Sun Chanthol said on July 21 that the ministry will adhere to the law and will fine, and impound overloaded trucks without exception.
“Heavy truck drivers please clearly read Article 60 of the law as it is applicable to [drivers and owners] ... both big and small trucks. As long as trucks are overloaded with goods that could damage roads, vehicles will be fined and impounded.
“Today, I would like to send a clear message that the law will be enforced. We obey the law and if the law is amended, we have to obey the new law,” he said.
If the ministry allows people to carry an excess of goods, it creates risks and the general public are the ones who suffer, while the benefits go to a handful of individuals.
“Infrastructure can be damaged if we do not work together and protect it. If a small group of people violate the law by using overloaded trucks, it is detrimental to a population of 16 million. So, I would like drivers of these trucks to obey the law,” he said.
He stressed that all drivers must not transport loads 20 per cent more than the law permits, or they will be fined and their trucks impounded for a year.
A truck driver in Phnom Penh who identified himself only on Tech said that he will obey the law if law enforcement officials implement it equally. He said so far, he has not seen the law enforced equally.
Kong Sovann, a public health specialist and director of International Safety Fund Programme, supported the ministry’s decision to encourage transparent and effective implementation of the law.
“Law implementation cannot be protested if the law was already spread widely. If the law is not understood and spread widely, it requires education and dissemination.
“When a law is implemented, of course it affects people for a short time. But in the future, we will become a country with people who obey the law and the country’s roads are safe,” he said.