Government Launches Road Safety Campaign

Marking the one-year anniversary of a disastrous crash on Na­tion­al Road 4 in Kompong Speu province that left 14 dead and 23 in­jure­d, the Coalition for Road Safe­ty launched a new campaign on Mon­day.

As part of the campaign, about 20 student volunteers were dis­patch­ed to traffic lights at three lo­cations in Phnom Penh to distri­bute leaf­lets educating drivers about the need to wear helmets and seat belts, the importance of obey­ing traf­fic rules and the perils of drunk driving.

There were 790 traffic accidents in Phnom Penh in 2004 resulting in 206 deaths and 1,253 injuries, the pamphlet read. It was a 14 percent in­­crease from 2003, when there were 693 accidents, 180 deaths and 1,057 injuries.

Traffic police on duty Monday said that drunk drivers and careless young motorists were responsible for much of the increase in traffic accidents.

“It’s hard for us to educate them,” said traffic policeman Sok Suon Bandaul. “Especially for the youth, they always [break traffic rules].”

Chhorn Van, 45, said traffic accidents had already taken a devastating toll on his family.

“A [driver] hit my 20-year-old son, and he asked us to pay for his lux­ury car’s damage,” he said.  “My son was in the right, but [the driver] was the son of a powerful official, so I paid them $200 and then paid more to treat my son’s in­j­ur­ies.”

Seng Marady, a local high school student, said he would bring the safe-driving message home to his friends and family.

“Today you hit someone and run away, tomorrow your relatives will be in an accident,” he said.

A vendor who identified himself on­ly as Sorn blamed much of the road carnage on drunk driving.

“Many drivers drive when they are drunk and abuse traffic signs and run red lights,” he said.

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