Phnom Penh Road Deaths Up a Third From Same Period Last Year

Phnom Penh traffic fatalities during the first five months of this year were 36 percent higher than those recorded during the same months in 2006, according to a new report.

A total of 114 people were killed on Phnom Penh’s roads between January and May, while just 84 died during the same period last year, according to the Cambodia Road Traffic Accident and Victim In­formation System report released by the government and the NGO Handicap International.

A total of 2,444 people have been injured in accidents this year in the capital, according to the report, which was received Wednesday.

Nationwide, more people were also involved in accidents bet­ween January and May this year compared to the same period last year, the report states. Casualties in­creased from 10,483 to 11,040, severe injuries from 2,619 to 2,724 and deaths from 575 to 586.

This year’s national average daily accident death toll also surpasses last year’s, said Sann Socheata, road safety program manager for Hand­icap International. Last year’s 12-month daily average was 3.5 deaths, while it is four so far this year, she said.

Sann Socheata said this year may prove crucial for road safety. “We need government enforcement of the law,” she said.

Tin Prasoer, Phnom Penh’s traffic police chief, expressed concern about the mounting death toll. “People should respect each other while driving,” he said.

A new law on traffic signed by King Norodom Sihamoni in February will come into force in September and drivers should expect fines for speeding, Tin Prasoer said.

The law, passed by the National Assembly in December, is designed to impose penalties for an array of transgressions on the country’s chaotic and almost completely lawless roads.

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