Starting Saturday, traffic police will begin pulling over cars and trucks that have not obtained engine inspection certificates from the PIAT company, the Phnom Penh Municipality announced July 29.
Phnom Penh officials still declined last week to reveal the amount of fine vehicle owners will have to pay. They also declined to name the owners of PIAT whose inspection rates some taxi drivers call exorbitant.
The vehicle inspection order was issued in April, officials said, at which time the Stung Meanchey commune-based PIAT was issued an exclusive inspection license. PIAT already makes all the municipality’s license plates.
“Sometimes vehicles are broken and continue to be driven, causing accidents,” Heng Vantha, municipal deputy cabinet chief, said. “In particular, taxis transporting many travelers are second-hand vehicles that are at high risk of road accidents.”
He estimates that about 400,000 cars and trucks are being used in Phnom Penh.
New vehicles will have to be checked every four years, taxis and tourism vehicles every two years, and vans and trucks once a year, said Peou Maly, transportation deputy director general for the Ministry of Public Works and Transport. Inspection will cost about $13, he said.
PIAT is a Cambodian-owned firm, said Peou Maly, also declining to give the owners’ name. Neither he nor Heng Vantha would specify the amount of fines vehicle owners will have to pay if they do not comply with the order.
A PIAT official said, on condition of anonymity, that inspection costs between $11 and $17, depending on the type of vehicle.
Several taxi drivers contacted said they were too poor to afford inspection. “I have been driving a taxi for more than five years and I always repair it myself,” Thong Mao, 35, said adding that he cannot afford to take his car to a garage.
Thong Mao blamed accidents on careless driving by the children of the rich. “Their cars have airbags to save their lives, so they drive very nastily,” he said.