Road Dividers Causing Accidents, Report Says

Concrete road dividers meant to im­prove traffic flow in Phnom Penh have resulted in 22 accidents this year, according to a traffic re­port received on Tuesday.

So far this year, two passengers have died, 23 have been injured and 16 cars have been damaged after they crashed into the dividers that have been built around the city, the report said.

Most of the accidents occurred be­­tween 12 am and 3 am and “most of the cars crashing into route dividers [were a result of] drunk drivers,” said Khieu Sarun, de­puty of the municipal transportation department, on Tuesday.

Motorbike taxi driver Khun Phan, 32, said the route dividers have made it difficult for vehicles to move around the city, especially on Moni­reath Boulevard.

“It is very difficult to understand. Some places on the street have traf­fic jams because of the route di­viders,” he said.

Khieu Sarun said the dividers were installed to reform traffic in the city, adding that the master plan for the dividers was made with assistance by Japan Inter­na­tional Cooperation Agency and sup­ported by the World Bank.

“The drivers must respect traffic rules because [traffic is] increasing every day. I have received critical let­ters from passengers, but our country has a rule of law,” he said.

Meas Chandy, road safety project officer at Handicap Inter­na­tional, said although he be­lieves the dividers are necessary to slow traf­fic, they should all be equip­ped with lights because some are not easily visible to drivers.

But Meas Chandy said it is a mis­­­take to blame road dividers for the increasing number of accidents.

“There is more than 90 percent human error…including drinking and driving over the speed limit, not respecting the traffic light… Those behaviors cause the most ac­­cidents in Phnom Penh,” he said.

Some 5,000 meters of road di­viders have been placed on city streets at a cost of $80,000, Khieu Sarun said. The municipality aims to finish installing the dividers by July, but the city will continue studying their effects on drivers, he said.

Since the route dividers were in­­­­stalled, at least 12 cars were com­pletely destroyed, said Mao Sony, chief of the traffic police un­it.

(Additional reporting by Yvonne Lee)




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