Sar Kheng Declares Emergency After Spike in Traffic Deaths, Injuries

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Phnom Penh traffic (VOD)

Traffic deaths increased by 12 percent and injuries by 29 percent last year, Interior Minister Sar Kheng said on Tuesday, calling the rise an “emergency” for the country.

“We must declare an emergency, and all relevant authorities, no matter what unit they are, must declare an emergency because it has increased too much,” Kheng told a road safety conference.

Traffic deaths increased by 220 people to 1,981 in 2019, while injuries increased by 1,371 to 6,141, he said.

Kheng suggested increasing fines for those caught driving under the influence of drugs, including possibly banning them from driving again.

Road Safety Institute director Kong Ratanak said legal amendments could help, but poor and corrupt law enforcement was the key obstacle hindering efforts to improve safety.

“Some police don’t follow the law. They demand extra money and allow [infringers] to go,” Ratanak said.

The situation can become harmful when officers let drunk motorists continue driving, he said. “It causes incidents. It’s a very dangerous case.”

According to the national road safety committee’s report presented on Tuesday, 78 percent of road casualties were motorbike drivers.

(Translated and edited from the original article on VOD Khmer)

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