Traffic fatalities rose 12.5 percent in the first 10 months of this year compared to 2010, while the total number of traffic accidents fell by 7 percent, according to statistics from the Interior Ministry.
A total of 1,591 people were killed and 7,338 injured on the roads between January and October this year, Preap Chanvibol, police chief of the ministry’s road safety department, said yesterday. The ministry reported 1,414 fatalities and 7,928 injuries due to traffic accidents during the same period last year.
Of the people injured so far this year, 4,200 were seriously injured and required hospitalization, while 3,138 people suffered slight injuries, Mr Chanvibol said.
Mr Chanvibol said that 50 percent of accidents in 2010 were caused by speeding, 16 percent were caused by drunk driving and 15 percent caused by careless driving.
Sann Socheata, road safety program manager at Handicap International, said that the statistics provided by the traffic police are not usually complete, as many accidents don’t come to the attention of authorities.
Handicap International combines the traffic police’s figures with data taken directly from hospitals, she said. However, Handicap does not have updated fatality statistics because its compilation process takes longer than the Interior Ministry’s.
Sem Panhavuth, manager of Handicap International’s Road Crash and Victim Information System, agreed that speeding remains the leading cause of road fatalities. “The main problem is that people do not respect the law related to speeding and drunk driving,” he said.
One particularly bad traffic accident left three factory workers dead on Sunday night in Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district, said Pen Khun, municipal deputy traffic police chief. Mean Kosal, 18; Ny Thol, 26; and Ngoem Thea, 23, were driving a motorbike on National Road 3 and crashed into a parked car in Choam Chao commune.
“We do not know if they were drunk or not because they were already dead,” said Mr Khun, adding that speeding was likely the cause.
(Additional reporting by Dene-Hern Chen)