After focusing their efforts on educating drivers about the traffic law for the past two and a half months, police will today begin strict enforcement of the new rules, imposing fines and punishments on offending motorists, the National Road Safety Committee announced on Friday.
“From March 15, 2016, traffic police will increase the inspection and strict implementation of the law for those not wearing helmets, speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, not driving in the correct lane, [driving] overloaded or poorly loaded transport vehicles and vehicles in unsafe condition,” reads a statements signed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng.
Run Rathveasna, director of the National Police’s public order department, said today will mark a turning point with a shift from issuing warnings to enforcing the law.
“Previously we mainly educated [people]—between 40 to 60 percent of the time,” he said, noting this may have led to complacency by road users.
“We think that now we have done a lot of education,” he added. “It is time for [everyone] to respect [the law].”
Lieutenant General Rathveasna said particular attention would be paid to drunk driving and speeding offences, a strategy applauded by Ear Chariya, director of the Institute for Road Safety.
“With speeding linked to 50 percent of road fatalities, and drunk driving for about 15 percent, when police focus on these two facts it can reduce deaths by up to 65 percent,” he said.
Mr. Chariya said implementation of the law had faced a number of challenges, particularly as Prime Minister Hun Sen has intervened to change provisions unpopular with the public, such as the requirement to have a driver’s license.
He said members of a government working group tasked with revising the law—based on Mr. Hun Sen’s recommendations—informed him that they changed eight amendments, including removing rules requiring people driving motorbikes with engines under 125cc to have a license, and would submit their work to the Council of Ministers this month.
An official on the committee did not respond to a request for comment.