The death and injury toll caused by traffic accidents in Cambodia remains a major concern for the government, despite the number of road mishaps falling during the first nine months of this year, a Ministry of Public Works and Transport official said on Monday.
The Transport and Education ministries, French NGO Sipar and Total Cambodge launched the second safe driving campaign in Phnom Penh on Monday, following a report showing traffic accidents as the leading cause of deaths in the Kingdom.
Transport Ministry secretary of state Min Meanvy said on average, five people died in traffic accidents each day last year, while 1,900 fatalities were recorded throughout the year.
She was reiterating last year’s statistics from the General Department of Land Transport, as stated by Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng, who is also head of the National Road Safety Committee, during World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims on Saturday in Pursat province.
“[Traffic accident] cause sorrow to the victims’ loved ones, and for some people, they lose the family’s breadwinner,” Meanvy said.
She said most victims of traffic accidents were aged between 15 and 25 years – an age group she believes are crucial to Cambodia’s human capital as they could contribute constructively to the Kingdom’s development.
Meanvy said according to a traffic police report, in the first nine months of last year, 1,780 people lost their lives. This year, 1,736 people have died so far.
“It’s necessary for [the drivers] to know and respect traffic regulations. They must not overtake each other on the roads,” she said, adding that the mitigation of traffic accidents cannot be achieved without everybody’s participation.
Meanvy also noted that her ministry is committed to improving road infrastructure, such as by installing more traffic lights. She also pointed out the fact that the government had continuously striven to spread information on safe driving.
“The National Road Safety Committee will build a centre to educate drivers so they comply with traffic regulations,” she said.
Sipar director Hok Sithik said his organisation has been actively working with the Education Ministry in sending messages of risks of traffic accidents through the mobile libraries the NGO has been deploying in and around Phnom Penh and the provinces.
Sithik said road safety remained one of the key challenges for the Kingdom, with 5,500 injuries recorded last year alone.
“Road safety is a shared responsibility and the private sector has a key role to play in reducing the number of traffic accidents among its employees, customers and all road users,” he said.
He stressed that pushing a lasting change in driver behaviour is the ambition of the second edition of the safe driving campaign.
Total Cambodge managing director Asif Iqbal said as a major player in the mobility sector, the company and Sipar have been raising awareness on road safety among the Cambodians since 2013.
“Road safety is a key pillar of Total Cambodge’s CSR policy since the Total Group developed a [Road Safety Cube Campaign] in line with the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020 developed by the World Health Organisation,” he said.