Two hundred traffic accidents, resulting in 58 deaths and 479 injuries, were recorded over the Khmer New Year holiday, officials reported yesterday.
Him Yan, director of the Ministry of Interior’s public order department, provided the final tally yesterday for Thursday through Sunday and noted that the accident total represented a drop from last year, though deaths were up. From April 13 through April 16, 2010, 49 people died in 259 accidents.
“The increase in deaths was due to speeding and careless driving,” he said.
When asked why accidents hadn’t dropped more, Mr Yan admitted there was still work to be done with regard to traffic law education and enforcements. “We still need to educate people more, and we need to get more strict about drunk drivers,” he said.
According to Mr Yan, Battambang saw the most deaths and accidents of any province.
Battambang province traffic police chief Sath Kimsan noted yesterday that the province’s high number of accidents nevertheless represents a year-over-year drop.
“The death count dropped three from 11 last year to eight this year,” said Mr Kimsan. “This…[represents] a major decrease if we compare the population and vehicle growth.”
In addition to the eight who were killed in Battambang, 48 sustained injuries compared with 97 during the same time period last year.
“Most accidents occurred along National Road 5, because it is outside the town and people drive really fast, as well as drunkenly,” he said.
In another accident, three people on a motorbike were killed on Friday while driving drunk.
Sann Socheata, road safety program manager for Handicap International Belgium, said yesterday that her organization was still compiling its own figures—a number that is usually higher than the government’s—but said there may well have been a drop.
“Intervention and law enforcement has improved, especially for drink driving, over the last year, two years,” she said. “We’re still not as good as other developing countries, but at least it’s some kind of step.”
(Additional reporting by Abby Seiff)