Several digital “eyes” may be watching the streets of Phnom Penh in the coming weeks, as police say they plan to introduce five mobile traffic cameras along the capital’s major thoroughfares.
Deputy national police chief Ouk Kimlek said Tuesday that May 1, police will begin testing cameras to record motorist activities and examine traffic flow, an approach used by many major cities.
Ouk Kimlek said that cameras will be able to capture the license plate number of vehicles, giving the police evidence to use against drivers who violate traffic laws.
“It is the first time for Cambodia, so we still need to learn more and if it is successful we will propose a plan to the government to equip more,” he said Monday. “This new technology is very helpful to control traffic and robbery cases, as well.”
Police are also looking to make use of newly acquired equipment that can measure driver intoxication levels by recording the alcohol content of a motorist’s breath. Tin Prasoer, Phnom Penh traffic police chief, said officials are mulling the idea of setting up nighttime checkpoints to administer these Breathalyzer tests to drivers.
However, there are currently not enough police on duty at night to tackle the issue, said Ryan Duly, a road safety adviser with the NGO Handicap International Belgium, which has advised police on tactics to decrease drunk driving.
“The first step would actually be to make sure the police have enough officers for nighttime patrols,” he said. “You work your way up.”
Duly said HIB has suggested that boosting nighttime patrols would also reduce instances of speeding and driving without a helmet, which occur more often in the evening hours because of the lack of traffic police.
Ouk Kimlek said plans are in the works to split the shifts of traffic police, with half working during the day and the rest working throughout the night, but did not give any further details.
According to HIB, drunk driving represents about 20 percent of all fatal accidents and 18 percent of all deaths in Cambodia, with only speeding accounting for more. Alcohol-related wrecks are more frequent at night, accounting for 32 percent of crashes happening between 6 pm and 6 am, as opposed to only 12 percent of daytime accidents.