We’re Failing to Prevent Road Accidents, Sar Kheng Says

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A traffic accident involving a truck and a van along Road 41 in Kampong Speu province’s Baset district on June 11, 2019 is seen in this photograph posted to the Kampong Speu Provincial Police Headquarters’ Facebook page.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng said the government’s campaign to prevent traffic accidents is failing, with the number of accidents and injuries in the first 10 months of this year rising by about a third compared to last year, and deaths up by 10 percent.

“The rising trend in traffic accidents is a bad sign. I recognize that even if anyone wants to evaluate it, it is a failure,” Kheng said during an event on Sunday commemorating the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.

The U.N. observes the day on the third Sunday of November, which was November 17.

Kheng appealed for widespread participation in preventing traffic accidents, and for an acceptance of the truth.

“I would like to appeal to all to work together. What means do you have? What ideas do you have? What comments do you have?” Kheng said.

“We cannot lie. If it is failing, but we turn to say it’s a success, that is a lie. No one believes it,” he said.

Road accidents from January to October have increased by 28 percent to more than 3,453 compared to the same period last year, Kheng said, citing National Police figures.

Some 1,665 people were killed on the road in the first 10 months of this year, 151 more deaths than during that period last year. The number of people injured in road accidents rose by 33 percent to 5,212 people, the interior minister said.

About five people are killed and 17 others injured in road accidents on average every day, Kheng added, citing a National Police report.

According to the U.N., “The risk of dying in a road traffic crash is more than 3 times higher in low-income countries than in high-income countries.”

Globally, 1.35 million people were killed in road traffic incidents in 2016, with more than half of those killed being pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, according to the World Health Organization’s 2018 road safety report.

Some 13 percent of all traffic deaths occur in low-income countries, which have just 1 percent of the world’s vehicles, the report says.

“Regional rates of road traffic deaths in Africa and South-East Asia are highest at 26.6 and 20.7 deaths per 100,000 population respectively,” it adds. The global rate of road traffic deaths is 18.2 per 100,000.

In March, Kheng said speeding, traffic violations, alcohol and drugs were the key factors behind road deaths. “I think at least 10 percent of heavy truck drivers use drugs while driving,” he said, according to the Phnom Penh Post.

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

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