Crossing Cambodia

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Stating Staistics

'Nearly 2,000 Traffic Casualties in October' captions an article in yesterday's (December 11, 2006) Cambodia Daily by daily reporter Liz Tomei. In a quest to fill the newspaper with local content, the Cambodia Daily seems intent on presenting monthly statistics on how the casualty list is doing and finding some new novel ideas to 'solve the problem'.

According to the Road Traffic Accident and Victim Information System (RTAVIS), 110 persons died, 506 were 'seriously' injured (what is serious? is this not subjective?) and 'nearly' 2,000 casualties were reported nationwide in October 2006. This represents an increase of 64% in deaths and 13.5% in total number of casualties over October 2005. However in Phnom Penh a drop was witnessed of 12 percent of road casualties (representing roughly 20-25% of the total number). This clearly puts a perspective on the presented statistics: October was a relatively 'normal' month calender wise with hardly any national holidays in which Phnom Penh appears to be deserted, everybody up-country), so such a drop could not be expected.

The October report goes on to state that the casualties were 'caused' by speeding drivers (41%) and 93% were caused by human error. Is it not so that the casualties are caused by accidents? That the factor 'speeding' is simply an aspect of the cause? How can 7% not be explained by human error?

Handicap International spokesperson also reveals that he believes the source of the statistics is broadening meaning automatically that an increase is to be expected. So was there an increase or not? The same spokesperson brings up the 10% financial aspect.In spite of what is customary in Cambodia, he proposes to use this amount of each investment made in the transport sector to install:
'safety features such as traffic signs, lane dividers and marked school zones'.
As Handicap International follow this blog avidly, they should be well aware of the senselessness of such measures: traffic signs are at best used as a pole for setting up a noodle shop, surely they are not there to be follow-up upon? Do we live in the same universe?

Finishing on a positive note the government stresses that the draft traffic law will be discussed this week nonetheless:
'After the law is approved, the first priority will be to educate the people ... The second priority will be to educate the traffic police',
Ung Chun Hour, deputy director general of transport at the Transport ministry is quoted.Well, since when did traffic police fail to meet the people criteria?

Even more positive Tin Prasoer, chief of the much criticized (= literal quote of the mentioned article, certainly not Crossing Cambodia's personal opinion, then again ...) municipal traffic police (did the Cambodia Daily run out of capital letters?) stressed that the drop in casualties in Phnom Penh (erm, ... he is not really reflecting on the statistics but perhaps on knowledge out on the street?) was directly due to the most recent order to install wing mirrors. Though compliance only toke place in December we might have to wait for the jury's verdict on that. He then dashingly dared to suggest:
'The next step is perhaps helmets'
Now what is the relevance between helmets and the number of casualties ?

p.s.: Crossing Cambodia must apologize that this article in the Cambodia Daily and this blog on the article failed to mention the two words in this context:
'law enforcement ....'
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