Cambodia’s first-ever Road Safety Week, organized by the Transport Ministry’s National Road Safety Committee, was launched Saturday in an effort to curb the high rate of traffic accidents during the upcoming Khmer New Year and in general nationwide, officials said.
Over the three-day stretch of Khmer New Year in 2006 nearly four times as many people died daily in traffic accidents than on an average day that year, said Socheata Sann, Handicap International Belgium’s program manager.
Forty-six people died and 816 were injured in traffic accidents over the 2006 New Year, she said. On average last year, four people died and 100 were injured in road casualties each day, said Chum Iek, secretary of state for the Transport Ministry.
“[Road] casualties increase by 15 percent every year,” he added.
Road Safety Week, which is modeled after similar safety weeks the UN has orchestrated globally in the past, featured a ceremony on Saturday to promote the new traffic law, which was signed by King Norodom Sihamoni in February, said Ung Chun Huor, director-general at the Transport Ministry.
The new law requires all motorbike drivers to wear a helmet as well as possess a driver’s license, Socheata Sann said. It also clearly lists penalties for drunk driving that range from fines of about $1.50 to $250 or six months in jail, she added.