During the three-day Khmer New Year holiday, 47 road accidents nationwide left 27 people dead and 80 others injured, according to the National Police’s Department of Traffic and Public Order.

“The main causes of the road accidents were speeding, overtaking in dangerous conditions and drunk driving,” it said.

The report stated that on the first day of the April 14-16 New Year, eight road accidents claimed three lives and seriously injured 12 others.

On the second day, 25 road accidents killed 16 people and seriously injured 27 more.

The third day saw 14 road accidents with eight people killed and 20 others seriously injured. The rest of the total of 80 injured were minor injuries that occurred across all three days of the holiday.

The department’s report added that road accidents took place in the capital and almost every province including Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Takeo, Kandal, Svay Rieng, Kampong Cham, Pursat and Preah Sihanouk.

Prime Minister Hun Sen also expressed his concerns while presiding over the inauguration of the statues of Preah Thong and Neang Neak in Preah Sihanouk province on April 16, calling on people to respect the road traffic law.

“I would like to call on everybody to respect the road traffic law so that their joy will not turn into suffering. These past few days, Covid-19 had not killed anyone and less than 20 Covid-19 cases were confirmed. But road accidents kill and injure people every day. That is the point we all have to pay attention to,” he said.

The government cancelled Khmer New Year celebrations for two years in a row in 2020 and 2021 because of widespread Covid-19 infections, hospitalisations and deaths, but this year it permitted the traditional festivities.

In the lead-up to Khmer New Year, Minister of Interior Sar Kheng – who also chairs the National Road Safety Committee – called on all drivers, including commercial truckers, to drive responsibly and respect the road traffic laws consistently.

He said that fatal road accidents and injuries were still on the rise and that the main causes of road accidents were speeding, not respecting other vehicles’ right of way, overtaking in dangerous conditions, turning in a careless manner, driving under the influence of alcohol, not wearing a helmet or seatbelt, distracted driving and lack of respect for fellow drivers.