Less than two weeks after a crackdown on drunk driving started in Phnom Penh, the National Police on Tuesday blitzed Hello mobile phone users nationwide with text messages warning of the dangers of driving under the influence.
Hello is the latest mobile phone company to send out the English-language warnings in cooperation with the National Police, after Mobitel and Metfone sent them out earlier this year, said Him Yan, director of the Interior Ministry’s public order department.
However, low English-language literacy will hinder attempts to educate the public about road safety through text message, Mr Yan said.
“I felt sorry that the text messages were in English, which most people cannot understand,” he said. “We will try our best in the future to talk with companies to check the availability of Khmer text messages.”
Hello’s marketing manager, Gary Foo, said the company sent text messages to more than 400,000 subscribers on Tuesday, which read: “If you drink, do not drive. If you drive, do not drink.”
Hello agreed to distribute text messages on behalf of the police for a second year after sending texts about helmet use in 2009, Mr Foo said. “We thought, ‘Why not?’ It’s for a good cause and a good start to raise awareness.”
Kong Sovann, technical officer for road safety at the World Health Organization, said that traffic police checkpoints to prevent drunk driving, which began on Oct 1 in Phnom Penh, would be extended to Kandal and Kompong Speu provinces when the current flooding clears. “We are trying to use many strategies to promote road safety,” Mr Sovann said.