New Year Stats Show Roads Safer, Police Say

National Police on Sunday said Khmer New Year traffic figures were evidence that the new traffic law has been a success, with 98 traffic accidents reported over the four-day holiday this year, a drop from 123 in 2015, when it was a three-day holiday.

The report notes 47 fatalities and 207 injuries nationwide between Wednesday and Saturday, compared to last year, when 43 people died and 281 were injured on the nation’s roads over three days.

“The number of traffic accidents this year decreased when we compare them to the same time last year, and I think this is because of enforcement of the new traffic law,” said Sok Nop, deputy director of the Interior Ministry’s public order department.

According to the report, of the 47 deaths, 38 were people riding motorbikes, 23 of whom were not wearing helmets. Speeding accounting for the highest number of accidents at 42, while there were 10 cases each of drunk driving and risky overtaking.

One notable fatality was 30-year-old singer Reach Borey. On Saturday at about 9:30 p.m., he and five others were returning from Thailand in his car when it crashed into a bus on National Road 5 in Banteay Meanchey province, according to San Kim Suor, provincial traffic police chief. He said that although the car had been speeding, police were looking to question the bus driver, who fled the scene of the crash.

Ear Chariya, director of the Institute for Road Safety, said the lower number of accidents this year may be partly due to implementation of the new law, but that the figures were inconclusive.

He said that the number of traffic accidents in Cambodia was likely to increase as the economic situation improved.

“The situation is getting worse as the number of cars increase, as there are more roads of better quality,” he said, adding that along with stronger enforcement, people simply needed to be more careful.

“People are still driving without any attention to safety.”

(Additional reporting by Peter Ford)

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