Motorbike Drivers Take New Traffic Law Lightly

Despite new legal requirements that all motorbike drivers carry licenses beginning Sept 1, only 700 people have showed up for required training thus far at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, officials said.

“People seem to believe that police will not do anything,” said Ung Chun Hour, director general of the ministry’s department of transport.

The traffic law, passed by the Na­tional Assembly in December and signed into law by King Norodom Sihamoni in March, requires drivers of motorbikes 49cc and higher to both carry a license and wear a helmet. It also stipulates that tuk-tuk drivers be licensed and that all motorists complete 16 hours of classroom training before testing for a license.

People with Cambodian or international car licenses, however, do not need a new license to drive motorbikes between 49cc and 125cc in size, said Keo Savin, director of land traffic transport at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport. Foreigners and Cam­bodians alike will have to obtain special licenses for motorbikes larger than 125cc, he said.

“From September 1, police will implement the law,” Keo Savin said.

Free training sessions are be­ing offered on Fridays at the Mun­icipal Department of Public Works and Transport and on Saturdays at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, officials said. The ministry’s four-hour sessions begin at 7:30 am and 1:30 pm, Keo Savin said. Officials could not be reached Aug 20 to detail the municipal department’s training schedule.

Although these sessions are only offered in Khmer, the written license test will also be offered in English, Keo Savin said.

Beginning September 1, the government will no longer offer the sessions and drivers must train at private driving schools, he said.

Each driver will have to pay $1.80 to apply for a license and approximately $5 to be issued one, Nhem Saran, director of the municipal department of public works and transport, said in a statement released Aug 17.

Municipal Traffic Police Chief Tin Prasoer said that the city’s traffic police will soon begin fining all drivers who do not have licenses, although he said he was not sure when they will do so or what the fines will be. The Ministry of Finance will issue a subdecree detailing this, he said Aug 20.

“[Unlicensed drivers] will be completely against the law. That’s why we told them to be prepared,” he said.

Only 2,000 of the 500,000 mo­torbikes registered with the Transport Ministry were driven by licensed drivers, a Ministry of Public Works and Transport official said in January. Keo Savin said Monday that he doesn’t know how many provincial drivers have been trained to comply with the new law, but that some provincial governments have been offering training.

Sann Socheata, program manager of Handicap International, said the new traffic law would reduce accidents and curb corruption among traffic police. “Seventy percent of traffic accidents involve motorbike drivers,” she said Aug 17, adding that accident reduction will only occur if people are trained and cannot obtain licenses with bribes.


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