The government has amended parts of the draft traffic law to reduce the maximum speed limit and make sure that all passengers will be legally required to wear helmets, officials said yesterday at a conference in Phnom Penh.
Preap Chanvibol, director of the road transportation department at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said officials from his ministry and Interior Minister Sar Kheng had met last Thursday to discuss the alterations.
“We have put into the new draft that all drivers and passengers, including children, will be required to wear a helmet,” Mr Chanvibol said. “We introduced a new amendment for passengers and children. They will have to wear helmets of a national standard, otherwise police will fine them.
“After we conducted the meeting with leaders of the relevant ministries…it was decided that 32 articles be amended, three articles be kept and seven new articles be introduced,” he added.
Mr. Chanvibol said the draft law would increase fines from 3,000 riel ($0.75) to 15,000 riel ($3.70) for failure to wear a helmet, and would also reduce the speed limit from 90 kilometers per hour to 80 kilometers per hour on national roads.
Mr. Chanvibol added that one of the new articles added to the law regulates the selling of vehicles and another requires all vehicle owners to own insurance.
Road safety experts say that the amendments to the law are necessary to reduce the high number of fatalities on the roads every year.
“On average, four to five people die every day in motorcycle accidents across the country,” said Lim Sokchea, executive director of the Coalition for Road Safety, a group of traffic safety organizations.
According to government figures, there have been 3,854 road accidents in the first nine months of the year, a decrease of 7.6 percent compared to the same period last year. However, fatalities increased 12.4 percent to 1,448 over the same period.