New Year Traffic Accidents Up, Deaths Down

There were 185 reported traffic accidents nationwide over the Khmer New Year holiday this year, resulting in 48 fatalities and 406 injuries, an increase in accidents and injuries but a nearly 30 percent decrease in deaths compared to the holiday period last year, an official said.

Last year saw 148 accidents causing 67 deaths and 303 injuries. Police record accidents over a five-day festive period, which includes the three days of Khmer New Year and the days before and after the holiday, when many Cambodians travel to and from their homes in the provinces.

During the new year holiday this year, there were 37 more accidents than last year, which is a 25 percent increase, while there was a 33 percent jump in injuries, according to Him Yan, director of the department of public order at the Ministry of Interior. However, there were 19 fewer deaths, a drop of more than 28 percent, he added.

Speeding caused the most accidents this year, accounting for 33 percent of the total, while drunk driving—the focus of government warnings and a campaign by road safety groups prior to the holidays—accounted for 15 percent, Mr. Yan said.

Fourteen percent of accidents happened when one vehicle attempted to overtake another; 11 percent were a result of drivers ignoring the right-of-way rule; nine percent were caused by drivers driving in the wrong lane; and six percent were chalked up to “careless driving.”

In Siem Reap province, where many Cambodians and tourists flocked for a three-day festival at Angkor Wat Archaeological Park, only four accidents were reported during the Khmer New Year holiday. Two people died and two more were seriously injured in those accidents, said Chim Sovann, the provincial traffic police chief.

“Mostly, the accidents were caused by motorbikes crashing with other motorbikes,” he said.

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