Crossing Cambodia

Sunday, July 02, 2006

From the press: Cambodians dying to go driving

Phnom Penh (dpa, Saturday July 1, 2006) - Cambodia's chaotic traffic has become the fast- developing nation's second biggest killer after HIV/AIDS, Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a speech to the Interior Ministry broadcast on national television.

Hun Sen said the government had drafted legislation in an effort to control bad driving which it hoped would be implemented soon.

Meanwhile, figures compiled by the Association of South East Asian Nation (ASEAN) on traffic accidents showed Cambodia had the worst death rates with 20 deaths per 10,000 vehicles - double that of the second worst nation, which Hun Sen did not identify.

He said developed nations averaged around one death per 10,000 vehicles.

"If we compare the population and the number of new vehicles, traffic accidents increased by 15 per cent this year, and vehicle numbers increased by 10 per cent," he said in the speech, originally given Friday.

"Our traffic is most dangerous. It is the biggest danger to lives in Cambodia behind HIV/AIDS," he said.

Hun Sen said basic measures to curb the alarming rates would include making sure people formally learned to drive, increasing the length of driving school courses at private schools, and making the use of number or license plates on vehicles mandatory.

Vehicles would also have to be registered, he added.

Cambodia's traffic is infamous, with unregistered vehicles and a lack of regard for road rules made worse by factors such as no effort by traffic police to enforce any minimum driving age.

• Good to see there is some thinking about measures to protect traffic participants
• Formally, nothing happens in Cambodia, you need a formal driving license, you buy one.
• How does ensuring license plates are mandatory assist in bringing down the number of accidents? Clearly a case of denying the problem and blaming the statistics. More licensed vehicles means that the number of traffic deaths per 10,000 vehicles drops…., but the number of deaths remains the same, still killer number two
• The rates are double those of the competition (unnamed, could it be Vietnam). Finally some international recognition.
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