Fifty-five garment workers from three factories were injured in a traffic accident on Thursday evening when a truck carrying them home from work ran off a highway in Kompong Chhnang province, officials said.
The crash occurred on National Road 5 in Kompong Tralach district’s Peani commune when the open-topped truck swerved to avoid a motorbike that had cut in front of it, according to acting district police chief Meas Siphin.
“The truck veered over to the left side of the road, then…careened off and caused some people fall from the truck,” he said on Friday.
Mr. Siphin said seven of the workers were seriously injured and sent to Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh for treatment, while another 48 were treated at the district referral hospital. Only five workers escaped without injury, he said.
The driver, Hap Him, 32, fled the scene of the crash and police are now searching for him, Mr. Siphin said.
“We will find him, because we know his village,” he said. “According to the law, the driver must be responsible for criminal penalties and the victims’ compensation.”
Mr. Siphin said government officials had already donated $200 to each of the seriously injured workers and $50 to those with minor injuries, while the provincial branch of the Cambodian Red Cross gave the injured workers $7.50 each.
The trucks that ferry garment workers to and from their factories are often overloaded and unsafe, operated by freelance drivers who are not always properly trained and licensed.
Chhim Sarun, chief of the provincial traffic police, said that while such accidents were still relatively rare in Kompong Chhnang, poor training of drivers was a serious problem.
“Most of the drivers who transport garment workers drive carelessly to and from the garment factories,” he said.