Seventy-four garment workers were hospitalized in Svay Rieng province on Wednesday after a truck they were riding in overturned upon crashing into a motorbike, whose driver and passenger were both killed instantly, police said on Thursday.
The truck, carrying more than 80 workers from the Neakareach Special Economic Zone in Bavet City, was traveling along National Road 1 in Svay Teap district when a motorbike driver swerved into the oncoming traffic at about 6 p.m., said provincial traffic police chief Ouch Saran.
“Some of the workers and eye-witnesses told us that the truck was driving fast and it was struck from the front by the motorbike, with the truck overturning as it tried to stop,” he said.
Mr. Saran said the motorbike driver was drunk and speeding. He said that 25 of the 74 injured garment workers were severely injured. Fifty-two of the workers were sent to the Chi Phu referral hospital in Bavet City, 19 to the provincial referral hospital and three to district health center.
Ke Rotha, director of the provincial health department, said that 16 of the 19 patients in the provincial hospital’s care would need to spend at least a week there recovering from deep cuts, facial wounds and broken arms. He added that the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) would pay all medical costs.
The transport of the country’s estimated 700,000 garment workers to and from their factories has moved to the fore of discussions about safety in the industry, with crashes of vehicles—often in poor condition with untrained drivers—occurring often.
In 2015, 60 fatalities were recorded in over 4,300 traffic accidents involving vehicles carrying garment workers, according to a February report by the government’s NSSF working group on land traffic safety for workers’ protection.
In January, five workers died in Kompong Speu province after their truck flipped while overtaking another garment truck. In March, the driver of a garment truck died in multi-vehicle pileup in Preah Sihanouk province.