Starting Jan 1, traffic police will begin strictly implementing the new traffic law, specifically with regards to motorcycle drivers who don’t wear helmets, National Police Commissioner Hok Lundy said Sunday.
Police issued a public notice signed by Hok Lundy on Oct 6 informing drivers of the January crackdown, according to a copy of the notice.
Hok Lundy said by telephone that police will fine all drivers who are not wearing helmets 4,000 riel as part of the implementation of the traffic law that was passed last year.
“Before the national election, we implemented [the law] to fine drivers in Phnom Penh, Kandal and Kompong Cham [for about three months],” he said. “It was a temporary action to check whether people cooperate or not.”
“At that time we fined not many people,” he added.
SRP lawmaker Ho Vann said Sunday he does not believe police will be able to properly implement the law.
“The authorities only implement 50 percent of the laws successfully,” he said, adding that police should educate drivers about the new law before fining them.
Phnom Penh municipal police chief Touch Naruth said police have already started informing people in the capital about the new traffic law.
“Now we try to educate the people like saying, ‘Having helmets, having lives,’ before we use tough measures,” Touch Naruth said by phone Sunday, adding that fewer than 10 percent of Cambodian people wear helmets and understand traffic laws.
He said he is optimistic police will be able to successfully implement the new law, but “at first, we know that we will meet difficulties.”
Meas Chandy, road safety project coordinator with Handicap International Belgium, said providing advance notice of the helmet law will improve compliance once the rule is enforced.
“It is good to have the notice prior to the enforcement starts,” he said, adding that nearly 80 percent of road fatalities involve motorcyclists who were not wearing helmets.