Crossing Cambodia

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Lawless no more?

Just before the end of the year the Cambodian parliament has been discussing (for four days, with sound bytes from Hun Sen himself(though in all honesty it seems a repeat of what was expressed earlier this year from various other governemnt / NGO staff)) and actually approving a new traffic law. All good news Crossing Cambodia hears? Amongst the goodies approved of are:

  • compliance to observe posted signs and signals (1 month license suspension)
  • no use of mobile phones while driving
  • children under 10 years of age have to wear seatbelts and bans them from riding in the front seats of vehicles
  • drivers found to have more than 0.8 grams of alcohol in a liter of blood could face between six days and six months in jail and fines of between $6 and $246
  • fines of $488 to $1,463 on traffic police who extort money from motorists or damage their property during traffic stops
Adding to this list are apparently compulsory use of a helmet for motorcycles, instigation of mandatory driving's licenses and speeding (more than ?) will become illegal.

It will come into law in 6 months, so naturally 4 weeks after passing this not much has happened. On the subject of the less drastic action of imposing compulsory usage of side mirrors. Yesterdays mirror count at the Lucky Sihanouk Supermarket revealed 26 had both mirrors, 2 had just the 1 mirror, but surprisingly 15 had no mirrors despite all the hype. So how will the new law fare?

Let's hope it improves something, though through the press several influential (and less influential) people are skeptical, it all comes down to enforcement. But with the penalties set so high Crossing Cambodia doubts any traffic policeman (are there no traffic police woman?) will graciously start doing their job ...
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