Interior Minister Sar Kheng has called on people to drive carefully and respect traffic laws during the upcoming Khmer New Year.

Last year’s holiday saw at least 30 deaths and 100 injuries on the Kingdom’s roads.

Sar Kheng, who is also the head of the National Road Safety Committee (NRSC), on April 11 reminded all road users that there was no need for them to break the speed limit, and that they must respect one another. Most importantly, they should not drive drunk.

He added that the number of road users has increased, which has led to an increase in accident rates, especially during the holiday period.

“During the forthcoming April 14-16 Khmer New Year celebrations, I call on all road users keep to the posted speed limits. They must respect the right of way, obey traffic signs and keep right. In addition, all motorcyclists must wear helmets, and those in cars should use seatbelts,” he said.

Sar Kheng also called on the public not to use their phones while driving, and to avoid driving while fatigued. He also warned transport operators that they should not raise prices during the holiday, or carry excess passengers, especially on the roofs of their vehicles.

He urged vehicle owners to check the condition of their vehicles before taking to the roads, specifying that tyres, brakes and wheel bearings should be in good order.

Kong Sovann, founder and strategic adviser at the Cambodia Safety Solution Organisation (CaMSafe), said the majority of accidents were caused by recklessness, a lack of patience or driving under the influence.

“During the forthcoming celebrations, I ask people, especially youths, not to drive under the influence of alcohol. They should exercise increased caution, as the roads will be extremely busy,” he added.

An NRSC report noted that 2022 saw a 14 per cent increase in the road toll over 2021, with 1,700 losing their lives.

It said that speed was the leading cause of accidents, at 39 per cent of crashes. Failure to respect the right of way was the primary cause of 24 per cent, with failure to keep right claiming another 11 per cent. Poorly judged overtaking, mechanical malfunctions and driving under the influence were each recorded as the cause of less than ten per cent of crashes.