The National Road Safety Committee at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport launched a campaign on Wednesday to educate road users on the importance of complying with the Law on Road Traffic.
The campaign will focus on road users who will be travelling around the country during the Pchum Ben celebrations. It is hoped they will drive more carefully and be more considerate to prevent traffic accidents.
The Ministry of Public Works and Transport will collaborate on the campaign with the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia, the General Secretariat of the National Road Safety Committee, Phnom Penh Municipal Department of Public Works and Transport, and the Phnom Penh Municipal Traffic Police.
Ministry of Public Works and Transport secretary of state Min Meanvy said road users must not drive under the influence of alcohol.
Drivers should take precautionary measures to prevent traffic accidents during the Pchum Ben celebrations and other main holidays when traffic is higher, said Meanvy.
Road users along National Road 4 in Por Sen Chey district’s Kantaok commune, where the campaign was launched, were handed relevant documents on the Law on Road Traffic. A question-and-answer session related to traffic law was also organised to hand out helmets.
“During the campaign, we handed out 200 helmets, 100 traffic law booklets, 100 books for motorcycle riders, 600 instructive leaflets on traffic safety, 500 retro-reflective stickers and 200 other stickers,” said Meanvy.
National Road Safety Committee secretary-general Him Yan could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
The National Police’s Department of Traffic and Public Order deputy chief Long Thou could not be reached for comment either, but he had earlier told Fresh News that the police would look after public order and safety as people travelled during the festival.
“We will not forgive drivers who don’t wear helmets. We must fine them and ensure they wear it. We have also tightened the law for drivers who don’t wear seat belts. Our forces are checking speed limit offenders along National Road 4 and 5 and other main roads too,” he stressed.
Ministry spokesman Heang Sotheayuth said traffic would be heavy due to the high number of vehicles plying the roads. Besides, he said there had always been traffic accidents during Pchum Ben and other national holidays.
Sotheayuth who is also the director of the Department of Information and Public Relations at the ministry reiterated that the National Road Traffic Safety Committee had carried out a series of educational initiatives and distributed free helmets to prevent and reduce traffic accidents.
“This year, the National Road Traffic Safety Committee has called for a nine-point plan outlining the prevention of traffic accidents,” he said.
Institute for Road Safety acting director Kong Ratanak said he supported the various educational moves, but traffic laws had to be tightened. Ineffective laws could contribute to negligence among some drivers. Additionally, there are people driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, he said.
He said accidents had become a problem which affected national development. Apart from causing a negative and direct impact on victims and loss of family members, he said traffic accidents cost a lot in terms of the loss of human resources in nation-building.
“This year, we are yet to have an exact figure on the number of vehicles in the country. But I noticed that it had increased compared to last year and resulted in traffic congestion on many streets on a daily basis,” he said.
A National Police report on Wednesday said that accidents on September 25 alone had killed 10 people and left 23 seriously or slightly injured. During the first 25 days of September, there were a total of 257 accidents which caused 135 deaths, while 336 people were left seriously or slightly injured.