Minister of Interior Sar Kheng on Wednesday called on the Kingdom’s road users to ensure this month’s Khmer New Year celebrations are a joyous experience for all by driving safely and obeying traffic laws.

Sar Kheng, National Committee on Road Traffic Safety chairman, said the number of vehicles on the roads over this year’s festivities would increase significantly and greatly raise the likelihood of accidents and congestion.

“Road users must respect the priority rights of other drivers and traffic signs, and always obey right-of-way rules. You must absolutely not drive at high speeds or under the influence of alcohol."

“And you must not turn or overtake carelessly and without fully considering the risks. You must never drive when tired. Have other drivers in reserve to take turns for this eventuality,” he said.

He also appealed to road users to ensure their vehicles were in a roadworthy condition, especially the tyres, wheels, brakes and lights.

“Please do not overload cars with passengers or goods in excess of what is outlined under the law. Buses and minivans must not be overloaded and have passengers sitting on the roof. Transport companies, please do not raise your prices on this occasion,” he said.

Sar Kheng said road users must always wear helmets and safety belts and called on drivers to operate their vehicles carefully and show good road manners, consideration for others and forgiveness.

He also hailed a large number of drivers for respecting traffic laws, while still acknowledging that accidents remained a concern.

Lim Sokchea, a senior official with the Coalition for Road Safety, told The Post on Thursday that traffic accidents were an enduring problem, with the number of vehicles on the roads increasing substantially and infrastructure struggling to keep up.

He said in the first three months of this year, traffic accidents had risen significantly, while the number of vehicles on the Kingdom’s roads had increased by more than 30 per cent.

“Upgrading road infrastructure, such as installing lighting and signage, is needed, but it takes time. Therefore we must all participate in solving the problem. People must show consideration for other road users and focus on road safety."

“This year, the number of road users will increase dramatically, with the majority of people leaving Phnom Penh for the provinces on April 10-12 in the lead-up to Khmer New Year, thereby greatly increasing the likelihood of road accidents,” she said.

Lim Sokchea said Coalition for Road Safety working groups will launch a major campaign at bus stations from April 10-12 to educate taxi drivers on road safety.

On April 12, there will be a campaign on National Roads 4 and 6 in collaboration with traffic police in a push to ensure lorry drivers drive carefully and respect the law, she said.