Traffic officials from several provinces said yesterday that they had seen a decrease in accidents during the three-day Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, which ended Tuesday.
According to Handicap International Belgium, which tallies reports from across the country, nationwide figures were not yet available yesterday. But traffic officials in several population centers noted a drop in both accidents and deaths from the same time period last year.
Thorng Sokun, traffic police chief of Siem Reap province, said only one small accident was recorded in the province.
“We barely put it in the report since it was just a slight fender bender,” he said. “No one died or got hurt.”
Mr Sokun noted that last year 12 accidents occurred during the holiday, no one died.
“It was more crowded here this year than last but people better respected the traffic law,” he said, fingering an enforcement and education push as the cause of the decrease. “Last year there were 30 police officers working while this year there were 78.”
In Preah Sihanouk province, traffic police reported similar improvements. Ket Sopheak, provincial traffic police chief, said there were four accidents this year and one death. In 2009, he noted, there were double the accidents and five deaths.
Phnom Penh police chief Touch Narouth said the capital city saw a decrease as well.
“People were more aware and better understood one another while they were driving,” he said by way of explaining the drop in deaths from two to one and accidents from eight to five.
Tam Orng, deputy traffic police chief of Kampot province, said this year there were eight accidents, one fewer than in 2009.
However, “no one died last year, but one died this year,” he added.
Mr Orng suggested that fewer visitors flocking to Kampot this year was the main cause of the decrease in accidents.
“Also, more and more people are wearing helmets and respecting the traffic law,” he added.
San Socheata, road safety program manager at Handicap International Belgium, said that stricter enforcement of the law was doubtless the reason for the drops recorded by each city.
“Police have their exact target: Helmets, drunk driving, speeding,” she said, but added the country still has a long way to go in terms of strengthening law and enforcement.
“We have to keep working on [new] targets,” she said. “The stricter the law is, the fewer accidents take place.”