King Norodom Sihamoni presided over the distribution of 1,500 safety helmets to students from three Phnom Penh primary schools on Wednesday at a ceremony hosted by the NGO Handicap International Belgium.
“I am very much alarmed by the road traffic accidents happening in this country caused by drivers who do not respect the priorities of traffic law,” the King said at the ceremony held at Olympic Stadium.
At least three people die and 100 are injured in traffic accidents every day in Cambodia, said Bruno Leclercq, country director of Handicap International.
More than 60 percent of the victims of traffic accidents in Phnom Penh suffer head injuries because motorbike drivers and passengers do not wear safety helmets, he added.
From March to October of this year, 3,246 people were sent to national and private hospitals in Phnom Penh because of traffic accidents, said Health Minister Nuth Sokhom. Some 80 percent of those victims suffered head injuries, he said.
In January, the Ministry of Public Works unveiled its “Road Action Safety Plan,” a proposal that outlines 15 action points to address the problem of traffic safety. According to statistics included in the plan, Cambodia had about 17 fatalities per 10,000 vehicles in 2003, almost double the road safety target for 2004 agreed upon in August 2001 by all Asean members.
The plan pinpoints education, law enforcement, and effective and efficient legislation as the keys to improving traffic safety.