Government Announces Delay of License, Registration Checks

Traffic police will not fine road users for offenses related to licenses and vehicle documentation until March 15, while other provisions of the new Land Traffic Law will continue to be enforced as usual, officials said on Tuesday.

“The National Road Safety Commission would like to inform the public that on March 15, 2016, traffic police will enforce checks on all offenses stated in the Land Traffic Law—including paper documentation,” the commission said in a statement on Tuesday.

The statement—signed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng, who oversees the body—urged the public to use the extra time to complete applications for driver’s licenses and vehicle registration papers.

Lieutenant General Run Rathveasna, director of the National Police’s public order department, clarified that since January 1, traffic police have refrained from fining motorists for failing to produce such documentation.

“Since January 1, we have not been fining people over vehicle registration, license issues and vehicle inspection certificates,” he said, acknowledging a processing backlog.

“We have seen that a lot of people have come to get driving licenses, certificates and letters—but the Public Works and Transport [Ministry] is jammed.”

The department director added that between January 1 and Monday, a total of 553,148 vehicles had been pulled over, with more than 20 percent of drivers found in violation of the traffic law.

In order to speed up processing times, the road safety commission said it would no longer require vehicle owners to seek formal verification of ownership from the original owners of their vehicles.

Contrary to Lt. Gen. Rathveasna, road safety consultant Ear Chariya said that since January 1, implementation has centered around license and registration checks, rather than genuine safety concerns.

“The enforcement has so far been about document checking,” he said. “The government should focus more on issues such as speeding and driving under the influence [of alcohol].”

Mr. Chariya added that Prime Minister Hun Sen’s recent to-and-fro concerning certain aspects of the law, coupled with Tuesday’s statement, had served to confuse the public.

“Education and awareness need to be increased, and a lot of people genuinely don’t understand the law.”

(Additional reporting by Tej Parikh)

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