Minister Reassures Moto-Taxi Drivers Over Law

Interior Minister Sar Kheng said Tuesday that he would try to find a solution for moto-taxi drivers who have complained about a stipulation in the newly adopted traffic law that says motorbikes can carry a maximum of two adults and one child.

Mr. Kheng said that numerous moto-taxi drivers and other business owners have complained to his ministry that the new law, which was approved by the National Assembly on Friday, will reduce their incomes.

Actress Michelle Yeoh puts a motorbike helmet on a student at Phnom Penh's Tuol Svay Prey primary school on Tuesday. (Pring Samring/Reuters)
Actress Michelle Yeoh puts a motorbike helmet on a student at Phnom Penh’s Tuol Svay Prey primary school on Tuesday. (Pring Samring/Reuters)

“Motorbike drivers who are using their motorbikes for business, and some other people, have complained that the law should be more open,” Mr. Kheng said. “If it is not, their family will suffer.”

Speaking to about 3,000 students during a traffic safety event at the Tuol Svay Prey primary school in Phnom Penh’s Chamkar Mon district, Mr. Kheng said he would work to address these concerns.

“We will discuss how to find a solution,” he said. “But with this solution, we are not allowed to go beyond the limit of the law.”

Moto-taxi driver Sok Tha, 51, who was waiting for customers Tuesday along Street 51, said the new law would not only affect his profits, but passengers as well.

“For example, if two people…take one motodop, they only spend 7,000 riel [about $1.75],” Mr. Tha said. “But if they take two motos they must pay 10,000 riel [$2.50].”

According to Mr. Kheng, there were a total of 4,840 traffic accidents in the year leading up to November 2014—a 12 percent increase compared to the previous 12 months—which resulted in 2,148 fatalities.

Michelle Yeoh, an actress and road safety ambassador for the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation, which on Tuesday donated motorbike helmets to students at the primary school, stressed the importance of wearing helmets.

“This weapon is to battle the enemy on the road,” Ms. Yeoh told the students, holding up a helmet. “When you go and put on your helmet, remember peace and victory.”

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