Pchum Ben Sees Marginal Drop in Road Deaths

Traffic fatalities over the last five days of the Pchum Ben festival dropped slightly compared with 2014, with 45 deaths this year compared to 49 recorded last year, according to figures released by the Interior Ministry Wednesday.

A statement released by the ministry’s road safety department says that 109 accidents resulted in 218 injuries and 45 deaths from Friday through Tuesday, in comparison to 137 accidents leading to 305 injuries and 49 deaths in crashes during the final days of last year’s festival. Of those injured this year, 201 were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

The highest number of deaths occurred in Kandal province, where six people died in 10 crashes, while five people died in four crashes in Kompong Speu province. Kampot saw the highest number of crashes with 30, but only one person was killed.

The deadliest crash occurred Sunday in Takeo province, where three people were killed and five were injured when their SUV smashed head-on into a tour bus that was en route to Phnom Penh from Kep province.

Traffic accidents typically spike over public holidays as people take to the highways to visit relatives in the provinces. During the three-day Khmer New Year holiday in April this year, 37 people died in 112 road accidents, a drop from the 48 people who lost their lives in the same period in 2014.

On average, about five people die from traffic accidents per day in the country.

Run Rathveasna, director of the Interior Ministry’s public order department, said the majority of accidents during Pchum Ben this year were caused by drunken driving and speeding.

He attributed the slight drop in accidents to efforts by police to educate more people on how to drive safely, including telling taxi drivers not to transport passengers on their roofs.

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