More than 1,500 people were killed and 11,000 injured in traffic accidents in Cambodia last year, according to government reports released last week, though figures from an independent organization monitoring traffic casualties in the country differed strongly in some categories.
An Interior Ministry report released Wednesday stated that 1,572 died in accidents in 2008, with an additional 11,066 people injured.
A separate report released by the Phnom Penh municipal police said 237 people were killed and 1,407 injured in the capital last year.
Statistics provided by Handicap International Belgium, however, paint a different picture. The organization says, according to preliminary figures for the 11-month period ending in November, that 22,401 people were hurt in accidents nationwide—5,319 of them in Phnom Penh—and 1,410 were killed, including 260 in the capital.
The discrepancies can largely be attributed to the fact that Handicap International Belgium gathers information from police as well as hospitals and medical clinics, while the Interior Ministry relies almost entirely on police reports, HIB Road Safety Adviser Ryan Duly said.
Despite those discrepancies, both government and HIB statistics indicate the country’s roads are growing safer, at least in terms of fatalities.
Barring a surge in casualties when figures are available for December, it is unlikely HIB’s 2008 figures will match 1,545 deaths recorded nationwide by the group in 2007.
“The number of traffic accidents on our roads is still high if compared with other regional countries,” said Peou Maly, deputy director-general of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation’s transportation department.