The Council of Ministers approved a draft subdecree on Friday to create a National Road Safety Committee to help combat the increasing number of road accidents.
Road accidents caused more than 1,000 fatalities last year and are increasing by 15 percent every year, Jean Van Wetter, road safety project coordinator for Handicap International, said on Sunday. He said more than 75 percent of casualties are motorbike drivers and passengers.
Officials on Friday said the committee will be led by Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and will include members from the ministries of transport, interior, health and education.
“The objective of the [committee] would be to make the ministries work together,” Van Wetter said Sunday.
The committee needs about $38 million per year to implement its action plan, Chom Iek, secretary of state at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said on Friday.
Its budget would be part of the national budget approved by the National Assembly. The committee would also raise funds from the donor community, he added.
“We have thought about this issue for years, but it was stuck. Now we push to get its approval from the Council of Ministers,” he said.
One of the first tasks the committee would tackle would be finalizing a new traffic law that would clarify who is responsible in a traffic accident, Van Wetter said.
“The existing law is a bit messy. It’s not so complete,” he said. “A new law will make penalties, fines in the case of infractions, more clear.”