A new 24-hour traffic police base, which is intended to hasten police response to nighttime traffic offenses and accidents, has been built in Prampi Makara district, the municipality announced Wednesday.
“The base aims to have traffic policemen on standby 24/7 in order to conduct traffic inspection and on- time intervention,” a statement on Phnom Penh municipality’s website said Wednesday, adding that the base would be inaugurated soon.
The new base, which began construction in June, is located at the intersection of Street 163 and Sihanouk Boulevard in Veal Vong commune. The concrete building cost about $24,500 in municipality funding to complete, according to the municipal website.
Heng Chantheary, Phnom Penh municipal traffic police chief, said yesterday that the base would speed up police response times, adding that some officers would patrol, and some would remain on standby at the base during their shifts.
“Whenever traffic offenses or any unexpected crimes occur, both traffic and intervention police can crack down on time,” Mr Chantheary said, adding that he was awaiting approval from municipal police chief Touch Naruth for at least 15 stand-by officers to man the new station. Mr Naruth could not be reached.
Traffic accidents continue to be a major problem in Cambodia, according to recently released figures.
According to 2011 Interior Ministry statistics, 941 people were killed and 4,331 injured by traffic accidents in the first half of the year, and traffic fatalities have risen as compared to the same period in 2010. Interior Ministry statistics show that motorcycle riders make up 70 percent of road crash victims in Cambodia.
Handicap International’s 2010 data, collected in Phnom Penh, found that 60 percent of crashes and 80 percent of fatalities caused by drunk driving occur at night. The organization also claims that helmet use diminishes from 80 percent during the day to 65 percent at night.
Sann Socheata, road safety program manager for Handicap International, said her organization hopes the new base will help to cut down on fatalities “if relevant enforcement interventions are taken…on speeding, drunk driving and wearing helmets to reduce head injuries.”