Just over a month after the highly publicized show of force to implement the new Land Traffic Law, Interior Minister Sar Kheng questioned why road accidents were still occurring at an alarming rate during a meeting on Monday with police, military police and government officials.
Despite the launch of the law on January 1, Mr. Kheng said the ministries of interior and public works recorded more casualties due to road accidents in January, when 182 people were killed and 951 injured, than in December, when 148 died and 881 were injured.
“We need to find the reasons. Why are traffic accidents still increasing?” Mr. Kheng asked his audience.
He then suggested a number of ideas in an increasingly impassioned tone on how to combat what he said were key causes of accidents: speeding and drunken driving.
“I think the first step is that we need to use the modern equipment to catch people speeding… [and] capture images of the face and identify the drivers,” he said.
The minister ordered traffic police to patrol from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. in order to make an example of drunken drivers.
“We should know how many drink shops there are! Let’s put the [police] vehicles waiting nearby, and the shop owners should cooperate with the authorities, and tell them if someone drunk needs our help,” Mr. Kheng said.
“If police can catch just two or three people, they will begin to fear the law,” he added.
Addressing Mr. Kheng, Kompong Speu provincial governor Ou Sam An said he believed unlicensed truck drivers were a major contributing factor to the deaths and injury of workers who use the vehicles to travel to and from work.
Mr. Sam An said that, according to an informal survey he conducted at two separate meetings with truck drivers in his province last month, the majority did not have licenses.
“In Kong Pisei district, out of 365 drivers only one-third had a driving license. And in Odong district, among 300 drivers only one had a driving license,” he said.