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Sar Kheng: Drug tests for drivers on way as part of new road laws

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Interior minister Sar Kheng leads an inter-ministerial meeting to review the draft traffic law on December 28. SAR KHENG VIA FB

Sar Kheng: Drug tests for drivers on way as part of new road laws

Minister of Interior Sar Kheng, head the National Road Safety Committee (NRSC), said the draft of new road traffic laws will require all vehicle drivers to be tested for drugs. Drivers who test positive will have their licences revoked.

Sar Kheng announced the policy following a December 28 meeting to review the draft.

“We are all in agreement and support the new law which means drivers will undergo drug testing. The new rules mean that no one will operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” he said.

He added that testing conditions would be set by an inter-ministerial Prakas from the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, following discussions with the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD).

He made it clear that as soon as the new law is in effect, all drivers would be tested, especially the operators of heavy vehicles like trucks and buses. These groups were considered an “at risk” group, as the size of their vehicles meant the consequences of an accident were likely to be severe. He noted that there had been several incidences of them returning positive drug tests in the past.

“At risk drivers will be tested in advance of licences being issued. Further details will be provided in due course. Nonetheless, if a driver tests positive for drugs, their licence will be revoked until they can return a negative,” he said.

He hoped that the new law would be sent to the Council of Ministers soon, before being put forward to the National Assembly in the first quarter of 2023.

Public works ministry spokesman Heang Sotheayuth told The Post that the draft consisted of 12 chapters and 90 articles, and was designed to respond to the challenges of a growing modern society.

“The participants of the meeting exchanged viewpoints, and discussed wording, phrases and defined terms in the new law. Some legal standards will be revised, while others will be redrawn entirely. We aim to ensure compliance with the law in order to protect the safety of all road users,” he added.

Kim Pagna, country director of the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIP) told The Post he had not received detailed information on the contents of the new laws, so he could not offer his assessment of the changes.

He broadly supported amendments to the status quo, asking that the government consult with relevant parties, including civil society organisations.

“We requested that road traffic law implementation be strengthened when the law was first promulgated in 2015 and offered some adjustments that should be made in 2017. I ask that law enforcement be broad, consistent and enforced day and night in a transparent and equal manner,” he added.

The new draft road traffic law was discussed in 23 meetings before reaching the desk of Sar Kheng, said Touch Chan Kosal, secretary of state at the public works ministry, who participated in the drafting of the law.


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