Gov’t Draft Plan Aims To Lower Traffic Fatalities by 30 Percent

Under draft plans presented yesterday, Cambodia aims to reduce traffic accident deaths by 30 percent in the next 10 years, with the aim of saving a total of 4,700 lives.

Last year, 1,717 people died on Cambodia’s roads, a 4.8 percent increase from 2008, and this trend is set to continue as growing numbers of motorists suffer crashes and fatalities, according to a copy of the draft from the National Road Safety Committee, a working group that comprises ministries, NGOs and UN officials.

“It is estimated that unless additional actions are taken, the number of fatalities in Cambodia will increase every year up to 3,200 by 2020,” the draft said.

To achieve the desired national target maximum of 2,240 deaths by 2020, the speeding and drunk driving rates need to drop by 30 percent, while helmet usage should increase by 85 percent, it added.

Men Chansokol, deputy director of the Public Works and Transport Ministry’s land transport department, said on the margins of a draft presentation event that it would hopefully be approved by an inter-ministerial steering committee in September and take effect next year.

Ryan Duly, Mekong program ma­nager at Global Road Safety Partnership, said that unlike the previous action plans, the new draft set specific targets to prevent increasing deaths on the road.

“Volume of traffic is increasing, yet driver behavior is not changing…. Improved roads get people to go faster and that’s it in road safety,” Mr Duly said, adding that Cambodians driving without helmets or drunk also make the country’s record one of the worst in the region.

Chev Hak, deputy chief of the municipal traffic police office, said that the draft action plan was achievable because many stakeholders had been involved in the process.

“The government is very concerned about this issue,” Mr Hak said.

There are plans to allocate 50 percent of fines to traffic police to reduce corruption while efforts to prevent drink driving at night are coming soon, he added.

“A big problem is limited equipment for all traffic police in Cambodia.”


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