There were 33 more traffic fatalities in the first six months of this year compared to 2010, but injuries caused by road accidents fell about 20 percent, Interior Ministry statistics received yesterday show.
A total of 941 people were killed and 4,331 injured in the first half of the year, said Preap Chanvibol, police chief of the ministry’s road safety department. The ministry reported 908 fatalities and 5,386 injuries due to traffic accidents during the same period last year.
According to Mr Chanvibol, of the people injured so far this year, 2,645 were seriously hurt and required hospitalization and major surgery.
Statistics from 2009 show that there were 934 deaths and 2,986 injuries caused by a total of 3,257 traffic accidents in the first half of that year.
Some believe more can be done to make the roads safer.
Sem Panhavuth, manager of Handicap International’s Road Crash and Victim Information System, said yesterday that many of the nation’s drivers continue to disrespect the traffic law, particularly when it comes to drinking and speeding.
“They speed, drunk drive and drive motorcycles without wearing a helmet,” he said. Mr Panhavuth added that efforts were being made to raise awareness about the traffic law as well as target offenders.
The locations that saw the most traffic accidents were national roads 4, 5, 6 and 7, he said. Motorcycle riders remain the most vulnerable on the country’s roads, making up about 70 percent of all road crash victims.
The rise in traffic accident fatalities this year came despite a directive issued by Interior Minister Sar Kheng in April to strengthen the implementation of the traffic laws and make amendments to it. Possible amendments include an increase in fines, new fines for motorcycle passengers who ride without a helmet, setting speed limits and bringing in compulsory driving tests.