Crossing Cambodia

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


New federal roads to have two bike lanes.

That's a title of a press report from Malaysia (23 February 2007). Are bicycles being used that often in Malaysia? Apparently not, it refers to motorcycles! Here, for what it's worth:
KUALA LUMPUR. New federal roads will be required to have motorcycle lanes on both sides, in an effort to reduce road accidents, said Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu. However, new motorcycle lanes would not be built in the city simply because there was no space or reserve land available, he said.
"There are not many motorcycle lanes in Kuala Lumpur. We want to build them but there is no space or reserve land to do so.
"For federal roads, the Government has directed us to plan for special motorcycle lanes.
"Hundreds of people die every year from road accidents. We have to take this into account.
"For new federal roads, there must be an allocated motorcycle lane on the left and right side of the road, unlike before where it is only available at the side of the road," he told reporters after officially launching the new exchange near the Segambut-Jalan Kuching roundabout.
Samy Vellu said he had asked the Works Department to inform him of the amount needed to build the motorcycle lanes.
New lanes, he said, would only be built on current federal roads if allocation or land was available.

Lately in Lao

Coping with increasing traffic Lao officials have decided to increase the number of one way roads in it's capital city. According to the Vientiane Times (22 February 2007):
Vientiane adopts one-way grid system
Vientiane authorities will designate several roads in the capital's ancient town as part of a one-way system, starting March 1 of this year, to reduce traffic congestion, ensure order, and to promote tourism.
The authorities have also mentioned new measures to address parking problems and the misuse of walkways by vendors selling food from stands or in small, open-air restaurants.
The Vice President of Vientiane's Urban Development Administration Authority (VUDAA), Mr Ketkeo Sihalath, said yesterday that his authority was preparing with relevant sectors to start the project.
“We will erect signs and use police force to give direction to people over the first one-month period. Then we will evaluate the project to see if the majority of people understand the directions, prior to issuing fines to offenders who drive in the wrong direction,” Mr Ketkeo said.
“Our project does not aim to fine people, but to give them education as to how to use the roads properly. However, a fine is necessary to force people to implement the regulations,” he said.
VUDAA issued a notice on February 8 to determine which roads would be part of the one-way system. Chao Anou road runs from the Mekong river into town, whereas Francois Nginn road will only run from the town down to the Mekong . Norkeokoumman road will run from the Mekong into town, whereas Mantha-toulath road runs from the town to Mekong and Pangkham road runs from the Mekong into town.
The notice also determines that cars are allowed to park on only one side of the road, in accordance with odd and even days. For example, on odd-numbered days, drivers are allowed to park on the right side of the road, whereas the next day, an even numbered date, parking will be allowed on the left.
This parking system will be enforced for the roads mentioned above in the old town. Additionally, the system applies to the downtown stretch of Samsaenthai road, from the traffic light where you can turn off to get to Sisaket temple to the Department of Geology and Mines. Setthathirath road is also included in the plan, from Inpeng temple to the Hor Kham (Presidential Palace).
The notice also encourages people to park in available areas such as the parking lots near the Lane Xang Hotel, Vat Chan and Mahosot Hospital .
On February 16, the VUDAA issued another notice in relation to the management of traffic and parking near the Talat Xao and Khuadin markets, with the aim of improving the order and beauty of the capital.
The notice stipulates that taxis, tuk tuks and jumbos parking in a disorderly fashion alongside Nongbone and Khouvieng roads would instead be directed to park at Hadsady village.
The cars belonging to vendors working in the morning market and surrounding areas will be encouraged to park on the fourth floor of the new Talat Xao Shopping Mall, when it is finished.

Vehicles on their way into and out of the Post Office, and the nearby ethnic group market, Lao Front for National Construction offices or the Faculty of Medical Science, need to turn correctly with traffic, and to move in the right direction. People should stop taking short-cuts by going against the direction of traffic in their lane. This saves a little time, but is very dangerous, and makes parking on this block chaotic.
Mr Ketkeo urged all people to implement the notices and traffic regulations and to cooperate with authorities in carrying out their duties.
Ultimately, these measures will reduce the number of road accidents that claim people's lives and should ensure the order and beauty of the capital.
Well, ensuring beauty and traffic safety can be combined. Let's hope their southerly brothers have internet access...

Police Crash Course

According to today's (Febraury 28, 2007) Cambodia Daily, police are getting into the learning-by-doing act. At least that's what you would think.

Apparently, a police officer feel asleep behind the wheel on Sunday lunchtime and managed to crash into a chain-linked fence around the US embassy. Besides overturning his own vehicle, he also managed to hit an ambulance. The dented ambulance belonged to Phnom Penh's biggest hospital and it's director mentioned he was informed that the driver
'was under the influence of alcohol'.
Minor Crime Bureau had no idea whether the driver
'was inebriated or on duty'.
Pen Khun, deputy police chief of Phnom Penh's traffic bureau explained that the driver was
'not driving carefully. If he was someone else he would be under suspicion and would have been arrested.'
So who would he have to have been to be arrested? Crossing Cambodia supposes it not be a member of the ruling party / police force / army. No measures to be taken? Well, besides being an example to soceity (good or bad?), drinking before lunch (is that not sufficient crime in itself?), driving under influence, falling into sleep behind the wheel and crashing into an ambulance, nothing much happened...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

'I' witness

A follow on from one of the motorbike robbers stories of two weeks. Originally in a letter to the editor in Cambodia Daily of February 21, 2007. Advice:
'And if you hear a bang, please change the direction in which you are going'.
Unless of course the bang comes from behind you.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Welcome to Dodge City

Touchstone magazine is a new Cambodian magazine dedicated to Heritage Friendly Tourism. To find out what that is go to the Heritage Watch site.
In the current issue an article on Dodge City, which apparently refers to Phnom Penh. A short abstract:
'Mopeds buzz like hornets around the impatient drivers of cars, horns blasts and the world's best examples of clutch control are demonstrated. Heavily laden lorries take illegal short-cuts through the city and are stopped by police at every corner. Cyclos squeeze into impossible spaces between cars and bicycles weave in and out of the melee. Chickens, dogs, cats and kids help to make traffic all the more chaotic, along with the odd cow cart plodding along the road. Few people wear helmets and the number of passengers on a motorcycle seems limitless'.
The article then describes the 10 steps required to cross the road. Step four goes like this:
'Look to the left, look to the right, then repeat and repeat again!'

Step six (after stepping onto the road) advises to:
'look straight ahead to your destination'.
Elsewhere in the magazine there is an overview of 'Transportation in Cambodia': the Moto taxi (Motor-bike taxis), bicycle, cyclo, Tuk Tuk (also referred to as Tuk tuk), remorque and Horse cart.

Cambodia Busomania

Does public transport have the future in Phnom Penh? Can local authorities do anything creatively to assist a bus plan to be put in place? Interesting reading from Stan on Khmer 440. The article dissected:
'The sign at the head of this article is what’s left over of an experimental bus system, financed by Japan, that operated for about 6 months back in 2001. As I understand it, people did use the system but it shut down because the government was unwilling to continue necessary subsidies'.
No pain, no gain?
'Once you’ve got steady customers, two other dynamics enter the equation; the government and competition. As to the former, I’m not aware of any type of regulation of motodops or tuk-tuks, so aside from a basic business license, the municipality should have no impact on the operation'.
Wishful thinking?
'It wouldn’t be a traffic panacea'. ... most important aspects is the social benefit of providing low cost movement'.
And his closing remarks:
'To sum up: Phnom Penh needs public transit. Who will step up to show the way? Forget about the government: They have their Lexus’s, what do they care about buses for the masses?'

But can we forget about the government?

Hall of shame no more?

Malaysian government's creativity which resulted in their 'Hall of Shame' has come to an end apparently. Reasons cited are blatant abuses such as providing false information and reproduction of photos. The site now devotes itself to parking offenders and has the information that
'If you are driving or in control of a motorized vehicle, motorcycle or bicycle, do not attempt to capture any photos or videos. It is an offence to do so'.
So that's a complete turn around.

It is also unclear what has happened to the Chinese New Year Campaign, reported just over two weeks ago on Crossing Cambodia. The Malaysian authorities do claim that the number of deaths dropped

High flyers taking off

It's not a real secret, but many accidents happen in Phnom Penh in the middle of the night. Roads are empty, alcohol limits overshot. So drive like crazy and hope that there is nobody around doing the same thing. But even then ...

According to the Cambodia Daily of February 22, 2007 (and linked via KI site) an accident took place on the rather narrow and often congested street 63. A one sided accident, in which the car was briefly (10m) airborne.

Creativity III

Bad road. Needs upgrade. Company here. Investment there. Cash needed. Let's toll the user.

In Mondulkiri there's a heavily visited waterfall. But there was a bad road. It was repaired and the comapany charges toll. Fair not?

Apparently not according to today's (February 25, 2007) Cambodia Daily. A deputy provincial govenor was left 'dumbfolded' after being charged 3.75 $US to use the road. Another deputy provincial govenor said:
'that he had not been formally notified of the system'.
The 'system' is apparently in place to charge tourists; everybody seems to be in agreement that these poor souls can face the full burden of this. What better solution than to charge outsiders for facilities mainly used by locals?

Creativity II

Accidents happen. Even in Cambodia. Even in the coastal town of Sihanoukville. Bad accidents happen. People die if the accidents are really bad. Sometimes it involves foreigners. Sometimes they are driving a motorcycle. So what can we as authorities do?

Ban foreigners from driving motorcycles. The grand solution.

According to today's (February 25, 2007) Cambodia Daily Sihanoukville's Mittapheap district authorities banned foreigners from renting motorcycles two weeks ago. It is also discussed in this Khmer 440 chat forum thread (though the discussion moves towards the topic of what is a big bike and how to perform a wheelie).

How has it being enforced?
Well, the article mentions that early Saturday morning a Swiss gentlemen die after he hit Sihanoukville's new curbs. The article does not mention whether the motorcycle was rented or not. So clearly there are some flaws in enforcing this directive(?). And being in Sihanoukville just yesterday there was a motorcycle renting business just outside the hotel, catering to mostly foreigners (they entusiastically advertised thay had helmuts as well), so ignorance is king, as usual?

Now here's an idea: why not ban all vehicles from all Cambodian roads. This certainly would assist traffic safety ....

Creativity I

In combating the at best 'irregular' Cambodian traffic scene the government of Cambodia is increasingly using creativity.

It has been mentioned quite often that, despite all vehicles required to drive on the right hand side, there are a great many cars (including police cars) with the steering wheel on the wrong side: being the right side. This certainly does not ensure traffic safety and in the past the government has refrained from registering these vehicles (for this reason apparently).

But just over half a year ago this policy was reversed: better to earn money from these unsafe vehicles than putting a policy in place which will eventually result in these right hand-drives being banned altogether. Enforcing the ban would not seem to be such an effort either, or would it?

Well, the source of these right hand steering vehicles is Thailand; there they drive on the left, so that looks quite logical. And in Thailand there are no vehicles with the steering wheel on the wrong side, let their be no doubt about it.

But the Cambodian PM Hun Sen seems to sense the problem. At least that's what's in today's (February 26, 2007) Cambodian Daily. Well, actually Hun Sen believes that smuggling is the problem, not that the smuggling would lead to unsafe traffic situations. Smuggling is bad apparently because it provides illegal organisations outside the governments' official (and unofficial) reach of funds. The blame for the smuggling lies with Thailand apparently:
'If authorities on the Thai side cannot control the smuggling it will be a disaster for both sides', Hun Sen said.
Can't the Cambodian side control smuggling? Like the fuel smuggling.
'He also warned that Cambodian officials involved in the smuggling to change their ways or risk losing their positions'.
Not so long ago this nearly happened. But what about imprisonment, surely 'losing their positions' is not a sufficient deterrent?
'Hun Sen said more than 1,400 right hand-drive cars were smuggled into Cambodia from Thailand last year'.
According to who?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Motorbike robbers

The spate of motorbike robberies previously reported on this site from articles from the Phnom Penh Post continues, if we are to believe today’s (16 February, 2006) Cambodia Daily.

'4 Attempted Motorbike Robberies leave 2 dead'

One of the cases:

'A man was shot dead Tuesday afternoon in Chamkar Mon district by robbers who had to flee empty-handed after failing to start the victim’s motorbike.'

What a waste! The same Cambodia Daily reports on an annual crime report presented by Phnom Penh Municipality. They claim serious crime dropped last year by 28%:

'The bulk of the reduction was in robberies, which went down 51%...! Murder (excluding killings [can someone explain the difference?] however rose… . Demonstrations and strikes … [is this counted as serious crimes?] went down 61 percent ....'

Understandably there is some skepticism. But when presenting traffic accident statistics there is little skepticism in general. Can somebody explain why not?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Lao warning

A vendor rides on a bicycle with handphone-shaped baloons for sale along a street in Vientiane. Communist Laos, one of Asia's poorest countries, can achieve its goal of becoming a middle-income economy by 2020 if it pushes reforms and manages its natural resources wisely, according to the World Bank.

Wise advise from the World Bank? Who knows?

Anyway the consumers in Lao will be paying slightly more for their gas,
thanks to a fuel tax raise. The government explains where the money comes from and what it uses it for, what the amounts are and why it's not adequate.Transparency from a staunch 'Communist' led regime?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tuk-tuk life

From Cambodia Pocket Guide site an extensive interview with a tuk-tuk driver:

Tuk-tuk Sir?

2/12/2007 11:14:26 PM

When you want one they’re never around, but try going for a walk and they come out in swarms!

They’re keen and eager to please for an amount that to us is loose change, and this enthusiasm is what can fuel the often tense relationship between tourists and tuk-tuk drivers. But the life of a tuk-tuk driver is not all shouting at tourists and roadside gambling. We interviewed a random driver, Mr Oeum Phalla, to find out more.

'How did you become a tuk-tuk driver?'

'I worked as a car driver for an NGO. When my contract finished I couldn’t find another job so I bought my tuk-tuk with the money from my payout.'

'What's your average day like?'

'All the popular tourist places have a team of drivers. My area is near my house at the front of The Shop on Street 240. I usually start work at 7am and finish about 8 or 9pm everyday. I don’t take holidays. I always make at least $5 per day. Sometimes up to $10. My best day I made almost $30. Other drivers don’t make as much because they can’t speak English. I like to study when I have no customers so now I can speak Thai and I have begun to learn Chinese. I like driving a tuk-tuk because it is an easy job. I don’t need to work hard, I just drive around and it’s good money.'
'What are your favourite customer pick-up lines?'

'The usual things but I never ask more than once or twice. I don’t like to make them disturbed. The best thing is to always be friendly and smiling. I have regular customers that often call me because when I first met them I was friendly so they keep calling. Right on cue, Phalla gets a call from one of these regular customers so our interview continues on the move. We joined regular client Maria and her visiting mother Jorun on their way to Russian market. Leaning over the tuk-tuk I asked Phalla as he drove what they really say about us in Khmer as we walk past. He tried to tell me they rarely comment on tourists [yeah, sure!]'

'Are tourists easy to get along with?'

'Most are good, funny and friendly but some are crazy and sometimes they smell, but I can’t complain because some tuk-tuk and moto drivers smell too.'

'Do customers ever get angry about prices?'

'Yes, a lot. Sometimes I am angry with them, and sometimes they are angry with me. I am afraid when a customer doesn’t ask a price first. I don’t cheat anybody. I always give a good price but sometimes they want prices that are too low. One guy the other day didn’t ask a price to Russian market. The correct price is $1.50 or $2.When we got there I told him $1.50 but he wanted to pay only $1. He got so angry he threw $1 at me and walked away. The biggest problem is the guidebooks, many of which checked the prices in 2001 but never checked or changed their prices again. In 2001 petrol was R2500 but now it is R4000. People read the books and believe them so now we cannot get a higher price even though it costs us more to drive them.'

So the life of a tuk-tuk driver really is as boring as it seems. Next time you take a tuk tuk have a chat and a laugh and liven up his day. Oh and always agree on a price first!


Back to last week. KI Media provides us via AP with this picture:

Nothing new. But a comment posted on the KI Media site points to this:
His words not mine. Feel free to add...

Next up

A 'Letter to the Editor' in today's (14 February 2006) Cambodia Daily concerns the fall-out of the ban on advertising on tuk-tuks. She looks forward to:
'...when the authorities might turn their attention to some of the lethal driving habits that are commonplace in the city and the countryside.

These include taxis with a passenger wedged in the driver's seat, cars with curtains on the front door windows and drivers with babies or children in their laps. Any of these practices would land one in court if not jail in many countries.
.... And the roads, which seem to get more packed and dangerous by the day, might just become a little bit safer.'
Today was exceptionally busy in Phnom Penh. It was impossible to park at Central Market / Soriya Department Store. Is it the upcoming Chinese New Year? Valentines Day ? Both or has the city just filled up to saturation point?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Safety first

In various previous posts Crossing Cambodia has looked into the issue of street side petrol sellers. Even recently the government tried to rid some of the bigger streets of these, but are not so successful. Their reasoning was that the petrol sellers pose a terrorist (!) threat. But clearly it's not a safety thing ... or is it?
Today's (13 February 2007) Cambodia Daily reports on a fire caused by a cigarette tossed near two fuel side seller's tanks; they exploded, naturally.

Smoke can be seen coming out of the house where the gasoline was sold near Phsar Doeum Thkov market. (Photo Chauk Chey, Koh Santepheap Newspaper)

Law enforcement (?)

There is more fall out from last week's mini riot whereby 'a mob retaliated against the traffic police'. In today's (February 13, 2007) Cambodia Daily there is one article and one letter to the editor by Phnom Penh resident Ngay Somealea. The former:
Until traffic laws are explained, mobs will keep attacking police

'... One week ago, I was pulled over by traffic police at the corner of Monivong Boulevard as I was turning in the wrong direction [what?]... the police asked for our identity cards and money. I noticed that the police can ask for any amount of money if motorists want to go on their way. ... I admit I was driving in the wrong direction [if you know you are wrong, then why do it?], but there should be clear and specific fines applied to everyone.'

Now there's a revolutionary thought: Clear? Every one? Where have we heard this advise before? Compare with what Crossing Cambodia wrote 4 days back:
'... The traffic police on the other hand have trouble apprehending offenders but have little legal back-up in the form of clear laws with clear defined fines/penalties, so they just ask what they feel like for penalties for not even clear offensives.'
Do we have copyright problems? Or is it so obvious? Well,let's let our letter writer conclude:
'Tin Praseur, municipal traffic police chief, said in the article that this is the first time a mob has rallied against the officers. I feel it may not be the last.'
Well said and Mr. Tin Praseur agrees apparently see article (which hopefully will be linked in the coming days):
'Riot Has Phnom Penh Seeking More Traffic Police

[He] said Monday that he has sought permission to deploy more officers on the streets.'
In the west it is political correct to advocate more police on the streets. Why would he need permission to put more police on the streets? Furthermore the article claims the police have questioned the main culprits and are seeking
'... a public apology and compensation for the damage [valued @ ?].'
Handicap International wade into the debate again by contributing
'... road safety requires quality law enforcement, not just large quantity of officers.'
But what about catching the offenders? If there are no officers on the road, there will be little or no effect at all, that's what policing worldwide has revealed.
'Police should focus on apprehending dangerous drivers rather than stopping people for not having license plates, she added.'
Then the obligatory opposition parliamentarian (does the ruling opinion have no (differing) opinion?):
'... the government should use state media to educate, [blah, blah] and that traffic police should enforce these rules- not just take money from drivers.'
Fines and enforcing them are instrumental to improving many of not all road safety issues. No pain, no gain.


Mad, crazy is the official translation of 'Wahnsinn'. For our German readers an article on taking a bus in Vietnam from Der Spiegel.
Why the 'crazyness'? Lot's of the same cliches are presented: there are lot's of motorcycles, the bigger vehicle has precedent over all smaller vehicles, fast vs. slow and then the bus is king! Why, because bus drivers are mad! And besides the main bus instruments (steering wheel, brake, accelerator, gears) the only instrument is the horn which takes over the functions of all other 'minor' instruments, sometimes even the brakes!
Anyway a lot of the well-known issues when taking a bus in Asia (?). The site is complemeted by a download of Hanoi street sounds! An adventure (for the tourist) not to be missed.

On the subject, when Crossing Cambodia was in Vietnam a couple years ago, during Khmer / Lao / Thai new year, the Thai in the bus were astounded about the 'honking' skills of our bus driver: using both hands alternatively, sometimes at the same time! Not all Asian countries are same-same.

Tour de Tonle Sap

As part of an environmental awareness campaign on environmental issues on Cambodia's Tonle Sap river / lake, a 9-day long cycling tour took place, finishing last weekend. The cyclists, amongst them some NGO presidents / CEO's averaged about 100 km per day, while part of the day was used to meet villagers and students. Well, the local press has not commented to much on this unfortunatly, here's a short article from the Voice of America site. And here's the accompanying photo: professional? At least they have helmets on!

Fair deal?

As an avid reader of this blog may have noticed, Cambodia's over the Gulf of Thailand's neighbour, Malaysia, is a world apart from Cambodia. Or is it?
The Government of Malaysia perceives that ensuring road safety is an essential part of their core tasks and is trying in various innovative ways to improve road safety. The government site [sorry, link has been severed by Malaysian government, see blog on February 26] focuses on this and one way of achieving this has been through a Hall of Fame / Shame. However, to induce the public to help during the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations, the general public has been requested to send photo's of offenders and will reward the best entrants with a daily cash bonus of 150 MR (a little more than 40 $US). At least that what's what they intend, according to their own site:

Photograph offenders, get reward
Nurris Ishak and V.SHuman

KUALA LUMPUR: If you are on the road anytime from today until Feb 25, watch out.

You will be watched all the way along federal roads and highways.

The police, the Road Transport Department and the Road Safety Department are working in concert to ensure road fatalities are reduced this Chinese New Year season.

And they are not the only ones keeping an eye out for errant motorists.

The Road Safety Department has invited public to submit photographs of motorists committing traffic offences.

To ensure good response, it is having a competition for the best picture.

The holiday season competition was launched on Friday and will end on Feb 25, with daily rewards of RM150 for the best picture of the day, and RM100 and RM50 for second and third best pictures.

The pictures will be displayed on the department’s "Hall of Shame/Hall of Merit" website.

"The cash rewards are only for a limited period and will run until Feb 25.

"We want to get the public to participate in our efforts to make our roads safer and the rewards are our way of showing our appreciation for the public’s efforts," said department director-general Datuk Suret Singh.

"We are getting the community involved in an effort to make Malaysian roads safer.

"When they take pictures of queue jumpers, overloaded lorries or motorists running the red light, they give us the information we need to nab the culprits.

"They can send the pictures to the website and get rewarded for their efforts," said Suret.

Suret said the pictures posted at the "Hall of Shame" at would be the "censored" versions, with the car plate numbers blurred.

"The original pictures will show the vehicles’ number plates. The information will be passed to the Road Transport Department which will track down the owners.

"We don’t issue a summons based on the photograph. It is up to the RTD to take the next step," added Suret.

Currently, the website displays 1,454 pictures of offenders and offences. The website was launched in July 2005.

Meanwhile, RTD enforcement director Salim Parlan said yesterday the department would put up bases at accident-prone areas to force motorists to slow down at dangerous stretches.

Called Ops Black Spot, it is being carried out simultaneously with Ops Sikap XII (which started yesterday and ends on Feb 25). Ops Sikap was launched yesterday by federal traffic police chief Senior Assistant Commissioner II Datuk Nooryah Md Anvar at the Jalan Duta bus station.

Twelve policemen will be riding in express buses to prevent the drivers from speeding or driving recklessly.

Nooryah warned that anyone who flouted traffic rules would be fined RM300 on the spot.
The article then gives some views from the general public, mostly positive though some question the method of rewarding the photo's with a maximum of 150 RM, while the offender get's a fine of 300 RM! And there seem to be some issues with dates: could an entrant send in older photo's? Well, despite the article mentioning that it is already in operation, until now no prizes unfortunately. Here's an entry from earlier this year:

'Four school boys without helmets and they're late for school, along trunk/federal road between Kampar and Gopeng'.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Next up : not so ...

Well, Cambodia's Prime Minister has issued a new order overruling the decree that the municipality had issued some time back, but which resulted in a lot of hot air last week, according to today's Cambodia Daily (12-2-2007). The new 'order' states :
'As of Feb 10, tuk-tuk drivers are again able to place ads on their vehicles. But first, [tuk-tuk] taxi drivers must have a license plate and a driver's license.'
Seems logical, every vehicle needs a license plate and concerning a driver's license it seems one needs one but nobody in Cambodia has got one with the exception of some who have 'bought' their license.

For the license plate the next procedure has been devised:
'Upon applying, it can take up to one month to receive a license plate, Peng Sokun, deputy chief of the municipal works and transportation office said. "If you want the plate early, you have to spend more," he said, adding that it costs $25 to $30 to get a plate in one day.'
Now if they can issue the license plate within a day, why does it normally cost a month? And why the uncertainty of the fee, either it's 25 or 30 $US, if not such comments can result in encouraging practices, as upon request it will always be 30$US. And why this enormous amount? Most civil servants get around 2-3 $US / work day, so the additional cost implies that nearly half a dozen civil servants are required to work for the issuance of this license plate only. Or is Crossing Cambodia mis-informed? And now on to the beautification of the city ...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Combatting smuggling

Despite fuel been plentiful everywhere in Cambodia, the town of Pailin which borders Thailand is experiencing difficulties. After local authorities cracked down on petrol smuggling prices shot up, from 0.80 $US to 1.75 $US. In all a non-article in today's (February 9, 2007) Cambodia Daily as the prices where dropping, so where does that leave us? Here's the story.

Customer is king

Not so on the ubiquitous Phnom Penh moto's. Phnom Penh's Post Police Blotter (February 9-22, 2007) mentions two cases whereby moto passengers have 'posed' as passengers and requested the driver to drive to somewhere quiet and then rob the driver. In one case they killed the driver, in the second case they were arrested after beating the driver.
The same blotter mentions two more cases of motorcycles being stolen, though the blotter refers to
'then stole his mobile phone and escaped on his bike.'
'then stole $500 before escaping on his bike.'
Both point to the motorcycles being stolen as a lesser crime.

While on the subject, in Sihanoukville according to todays (9 February 2007) Cambodia Daily, motorcycle robbers are still in training:
'Suspect ... carved a 2 cm deep and 4 cm long gash in his [victims] neck.'

But the victim retaliated and had his attacker at mercy:
'begged the [victim] not to call the police, saying it was the first time he had attacked anyone and that he was trying to raise money to wed his girlfriend.'
He was however luckily arrested. No news about the girlfriend.


Back to the previous day's article on beauty in advertising. A worried reader of the Cambodia Daily of today (9 February2007) has sent a letter to the editor which has been published. It;s not too long, can be found here, but here is the main point:
'Is it fair to deny tuk-tuk owners a few dollars a month of advertising income while the city itself earns big money from far uglier and more intrusive billboards?'
Answer: no it does not seem so. (The author is referring to big bill-boards which advertise cigarettes).

Thai Road Safety

A neighbouring country with a real accident research center! Complete with analysis, policy proposals, data, etc., etc. It's a pity that it is difficult to compare data between countries as the data provided are not comparable or unreliable. But it is encouraging to see that the Thai are trying to do things professionally and serious. In practice however,...

Helmet's in Laos

Another country in the region struggling with safety issues and law enforcement:
'Implementation of fines (for not wearing helmets) was practically non existent, however, for fear that the enforcement would cause uncontrolled price hikes for helmets and that Vientiane residents who rely on motorcycles could not afford helmets.'
And then the statistics:
'Approximately 84% of all road crash victims were motorcyclists, and 90% of the casualties suffered some form of head injury. Most of the victims did not wear a motorcycle helmet.'
So why can't the police enforce there? Already 30-40% of the traffic participants wear helmets. In such cases reluctance to enforce only contributes to failure to protect citzens from themselves. Or not?

Every driver for himself in Vietnam

An intresting article from or should we say about Cambodia. From SAFW news site, whatever they may be. Possibly nicked from AFP? Anyway here it is:
Every driver for himself on Vietnam's traffic-choked roads

HANOI (AFP) It's a common experience for the first-time visitor to a Vietnamese city: trying to cross a road and waiting in vain for a break in the traffic, a seemingly endless stream of motorized madness.

Watching on with fascination and fear, many a newcomer has been glued to the pavement marvelling at the honking avalanche of steel and plastic that is a snapshot of modern Vietnam.

With the organic flow of a school of fish, squadrons of motor scooters weave past each other as their riders look for gaps, some while sending texts on their mobile phones.

Honda Dream mopeds carry families of four or improbably large cargos including furniture. Women in conical hats pedal bicycles laden with flowers. And cyclo caravans steer camera-toting tourists through the chaos.

Overwhelmed traffic police typically stand by blowing their whistles while trying not to get run over, only occasionally springing into action to pick a motorist from the crowd for an on-the-spot fine.

Traffic in Ho Chi Minh City

The most brazen road warriors seem to regard traffic lights and one-way signs as suggestions and choked roads as cues for impromptu pavement detours.

Even by the standards of many developing cities, Vietnam's traffic can be a sight to behold.

But luckily for the petrified pedestrian, advice is at hand.

"The traffic is a flowing river," says Dutch photographer Hans Kemp.

"It's one of the most important things visitors here have to learn: don't go fast, never stop, and the traffic will flow around you. If you stay on the pavement, you will never cross the road."

Kemp has spent hundreds of hours photographing Vietnamese traffic for his book "Bikes of Burden," a tribute to the motor scooters he calls "the backbone of Vietnam's economy".

His pictures prove that almost anything can be transported on a motorcycle.

Graphic showing the rise in the number of registered automobiles and motorbikes in Vietnam in the last seven years

The loads he has photographed include giant truck tyres, stacks of toilets, beer barrels, small forests of bonsai trees, flocks of live ducks and stacked crates of raw eggs. They range from the tragic, like a basket of dogs heading to a restaurant, to the ridiculous, like the dead shark flopped across a moped.

Two thirds of Vietnam's population of 85 million are under 30, and the motorcycle has become the centre of youth culture.

But the flipside of that fascination is one of the world's highest road tolls with about 30 fatalities a day.

The National Traffic Safety Committee says more than 12,500 people died on the roads last year and 11,000 were injured, many suffering head trauma.

"I think it's the most dangerous traffic in Asia because Vietnam is probably the fastest motorising country in the world," said Greig Craft, president of non-profit Asia Injury Prevention Foundation.

"Everyone expected that the transition would be from water buffalos to bicycles to automobiles. Instead this truly unforeseen phenomenon of people buying motorcycles cropped up. It was a ticking time bomb.

Night traffic on a busy street of Ho Chi Minh City

"Today this is a road war, it's an epidemic. The toll on society here is just unbelievable."

Craft campaigns to make helmets compulsory in a country where the full-face version is scoffed at as a "rice cooker".

The foundation, which has received support from celebrities and former US president Bill Clinton, manufactures and distributes small light-weight helmets better suited to the tropical climate.

Change is badly needed in booming Vietnam where motor vehicle densities are among the world's highest, with more than 18 million registered motorbikes -- a number that grows by more than two million a year.

Vietnam's entry into the World Trade Organisation last month will lift an import ban on bikes larger than 175 cc and lower tariffs on cars, of which there are now about one million.

The government has taken notice of the trends, early this year announcing a national traffic safety campaign and asking for public suggestions on making roads safer.

A cyclo carrying pigs

A high-ranking police officer said riders who run red lights should have their motorbikes confiscated, while one government leader likened the road carnage to natural disasters and war.

"An average of 1,000 deaths monthly is equivalent to the damage of 10 big storms," Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung reportedly told a recent traffic safety conference in Ho Chi Minh City.

"The number of deaths a year is equivalent to those killed in 120 big storms, and the human loss of several prolonged wars. It's not an exaggeration to say it's a national calamity."

So over in Vietnam the problem is very much same-same. Here is the link to the book mentioned. Vietnam's National Traffic Strategy Committee has no web-sie but here is a site for the Global Road Safety Partnership, of which Vietnam is a member / partner.

'Law enforcement?'

'Mob Chases Police After Teen Falls From Bike'.
Front page of today's (February 9, 2006) Cambodia Daily. Quotes from the event:

'A hundreds-strong mob descended on 3 Phnom Penh traffic police officers Thursday morning and destroyed a police motorcycle after the officers alledgedly injured a teenage boy, witnesses said. [The victim] alleged that the officers knocked him from the back of his friend's moving motorbike ...'

In the end the policemen escaped and their motorcycle was a bit damaged. But why would the policemen act in such a fashion? The Municipal Traffic Police Chief said:
'the teenager fell from the bike when the driver was attempting a reckless, high speed maneuver to dodge the officers. The motorcycle was travelling against the direction of the traffic.'
What's strange in this story? Not the fact that the motorcycle was driving against the traffic, but the fact that the police took the trouble to try to apprehend the driver! Driving against the traffic is defacto norm inspite of diametrically opposing traffic rules.

But behind this incident there is more. It was 'the first time the traffic police was rallied against by a mob', apparently. A motorcycle driver was quoted dissenting against the police:
'traffic police are deployed around the city like nets to fish every street for money.'
Socheata Sann, road safety program manager of Handicap International, discusses the lack of respect for traffic police:
'the public's poor opinion of the traffic police is the general lack of knowledge concerning the rules of the road and height of fines for breaking the rules.'
Then an opposition politician wades into the debate stressing that both law enforcement and the judiciary are dubious as
'they are often perceived as oppressing the poor.'

Clearly, there are issues on both sides. Road users in Cambodia have little notion about common traffic rules. They also prefer not to stop for traffic police. The traffic police on the other hand have trouble apprehending offenders but have little legal back-up in the form of clear laws with clear defined fines/penalties, so they just ask what they feel like for penalties for not even clear offensives. They are also not assisted by politicians who often produce ill-advised 'directives' which the police are to maintain. So how to move forward?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

High speed rail

Vietnam to build high speed rail. Now there is a government looking into the future! If they look further they could connect Phnom Penh as well.

Cambodia Busphobia

Is it official? Busphobia? Or is it more a reluctance to think of the future and act accordingly? From the Khmer440 site, Stan tries to get a grip on living in a weird city:

The latest, somewhat convoluted, traffic idea to come from City Hall is the banishment of overland buses from the city center. The city’s leaders seem to have an inordinate dislike of public buses of all types. This is unfortunate since a halfway decent public transportation system would make a big difference to our city’s traffic problems. It would especially benefit the many individuals who would use it. Buses are admittedly big and clunky, noisy and smoky: still, when you compare their negative aspects with the alternative; large numbers of individual vehicles - even small vehicles like motorbikes - they still come out way ahead. (The answer to noisy and smoky is electric or hybrid diesel-electric buses, but that possibility’s obviously a long way off for Cambodia.)

Let me illustrate the importance a public transit system would have for ordinary Phnom Penhers by going back to an experience I had in ‘93 while teaching in Bangkok. I taught at a school for about 8 months that was quite off the beaten path. It was across the Chao Phraya River and about a kilometre off the nearest bus route. For those of you unfamiliar with Bangkok’s layout, it has a deficit of thoroughfares; in this case, streets capable of accommodating standard buses. To compensate for the deficiency of big buses not being able to get close to people’s destinations there is a secondary transportation system. At most bus stops (they are quite far apart in Bangkok) is a motorbike taxi stand to get people to their final destination. Most Thais, as well as most Khmers, as well as most of everybody, are not fond of walking. Out for a Sunday stroll, OK, but as a rule, as part of daily life, people would rather ride, especially in inclement weather.

I, of course, am the exception, since I only jumped on a bike when I was seriously late for work. If I remember correctly it cost 6 baht (1 baht = about 100 riel) - about 15 cents at the time - to go within the neighbourhood - a maximum of a couple kilometres. This stop had a larger than average reach and population and offered the further option of a small bus for 2, maybe 3 baht. Many people would wait 10-15 minutes for the bus to leave in order to save 3 or 4 baht off the cost of an immediate motorbike ride. For you or I a pittance, for low income Thais or Cambodians, sometimes the difference between eating or not eating that day.

If you’ve been around for very long, and have gotten to know very many locals, you know that if they don’t live close to work, they often spend a very large part of their income on transportation. I know a young Khmer who spent a short time working in the office of a garment factory on Monivong (south of town). With a fare of 6000 riel each way she was spending 60% of her income on transportation. What she had left of her salary after motodop costs was so minimal that she quit after a short time. The equivalent cost of a bus to go the same distance in Bangkok is 600 riel, in Saigon, 1200 riel.

The high price of going anywhere outside the neighbourhood does two things. It limits people’s mobility and therefore their economic opportunities; one of the great advantages of living in a city. It also encourages those of slightly higher means to get their own transportation.

It’s a given that the great majority of people prefer owning their own vehicle, and that’s true even if they also use public transportation on occasion. Buses can never be as convenient as private transportation, except under very limited circumstances. First, you have to walk to the bus stop, and then wait for it. Once aboard, it goes relatively slowly and has to stop often to pick and drop off passengers and when you get off there’s still the walk to your final destination.

A less than 10 minute door-to-door ride on a motorbike could easily take more than half an hour using the bus. For that reason most Phnom Penhers would not immediately sell or park their bikes if presented with a bus alternative. Neither would most motodops be out of a job. Still, many, in fact, would save the money and use the bus. Most importantly, every person who opted for public transit would help ease traffic problems, reduce the need for parking, cut pollution and save energy.

Parking is an important consideration. Where I teach they’ve just completed a new six story classroom facility. Two of those floors are devoted exclusively to motorbike parking, and that space is crowded with bikes. Small as they are, there is no small cost in accommodating them.

There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the efficacy of bus transportation and central location. Banishment of buses will have the same negative impact on traffic as the relocation of public services to the outskirts of town. In both cases I’ve received quizzical comments from friends: What’s the difference, they say, if public buildings and bus stations are sent packing from the city centre?

Big difference. I had first hand experience recently of what relocating bus terminals would mean. I was returning from Kampot on the last day of Water Festival when buses were prohibited from entering the city. Our bus stopped at the terminal one kilometre west of the airport, about 10 km’s from the heart of Phnom Penh. I do ride motorbikes occasionally, but I would never ride that far, especially through heavy traffic (I’d rather walk - 10 km’s would take about two hours). I asked the fare from a tuk-tuk driver, was told $8 and in turn told him to shove it and started walking. I really have to learn to control myself – I’m really going to get pummelled one of these times - but that’s another story. I walked over to the airport, about 1 k, and got a tuk-tuk for $4. Under the best circumstances it’ll cost about 6000 riel to get a motodop from that bus terminal to town.

While it’s true that the average person will have to hop on a motorbike taxi to get to the bus anyway, the majority of people in the Phnom Penh area live within 2 or 3 kilometres of the centre of town.
According to the Daily article there are about 300 buses that serve PP. Let’s assume that about 30 of them are destined for Sihanoukville or Kampot and would stop at that terminal and together they carry about 1000 passengers. They could actually carry quite a few more, but I’m assuming they’d not all be full. In the first place, 30 buses take up far less street space than the 800 or so motorbikes that would be necessary to get 1000 people to the terminal. Needless to say, it’s far safer, not to mention more comfortable, to ride in a bus than on a motorbike. Further, for a majority of riders, a 1000 to 2000 riel ride to a centrally located terminal becomes a 6000 riel ride to the outlying one.

Relocation of public buildings to the fringes of the city has a slightly different dynamic. Even if everyone who works in them were to move nearby that would only have a small effect on traffic since they’d be going about the same distance to work as they do now. As far as I can tell those outlying areas aren’t much less congested
than the heart of town. Moreover, chances are that most civil servants already have homes or neighbourhood commitments that preclude their moving with the relocation. They, like the great majority of citizens who have business in those places, will have to go much farther and that additional mileage will add significantly to congestion. The suburban areas in question may not be as congested in the present, but the extra travelling and the fact that it’s all concentrated on the route to the new facility, will soon make them just as bad.

Part of the problem with any kind of traffic mitigation - even ones that actually work as opposed to the cockamamie ideas coming from City Hall - is that economic and population growth will quickly swamp any beneficial effects that might accrue. For instance, when a metropolitan area grows 10%, traffic grows by a greater percentage.

The reason is that increasing population means more area is developed and thus the average trip is lengthened. Many of the people who live in the newly built areas on the fringes of town will continue to work or visit the centre. When a very fast increase in vehicle registrations is added, the recipe for Phnom Penh is gridlock.

However, if the new construction was centrally located and there was a good public transportation system available, traffic would actually be eased - at least as a function of the number of people involved.
Look at Amsterdam. It is a compact city of 700,000 with excellent public transportation - including trains, streetcars and buses - and its design is devoted to making bicycling safe and convenient to the point that 30% of all trips are by pedal power. In combination with making driving into the centre of town very difficult, you have a city with little traffic congestion and that also means quiet streets and clean air.

Phnom Penh has only been able to survive without a public transit system until now because the city has been poor and thus vehicles have been few. If present trends continue, traffic will grow very quickly past the point where the infrastructure can cope, especially absent a drastic effort to enforce basic traffic rules. Narrowing all of the city’s sidewalks, another wacky idea being pursued by the city’s leaders, even if the many millions were available, it will take more than two million just to do that to 3 kilometres of Kampuchea Krom and will have little effect; traffic will quickly increase to fill up the additional street space.

That is the American experience: build a new road and it’s congested the day it’s opened. That’s true at least in part because American cities are so spread out that public transportation can have little impact in many areas. In spite of that, nearly every US city goes through great lengths, including providing very large subsidies, to get people on the bus. They know that every person who opts for public transportation does everyone else a favour.

Next; public transit for Phnom Penh… Give me ten grand and I’ll have self-sustaining public transportation operating on one of PP’s thoroughfares in a month or two.

Stan Kahn

Next up II

Under the heading ‘Tuk-tuk Ad Ban Puzzles Lawmakers, Businessman’ todays (February 7, 2006) Cambodia Daily follows up on yesterday’s story: tuk-tuk’s are banned from carrying commercial advertisement which could contribute 5-10 $US per month per tuk-tuk driver. The reason provided was to ensure public order and maintain the beauty of the city. With the reporters having nothing better to do, they went in search of quotes on yesterdays revelations which were a discovery of a municipal directive issued in November:
'This is communist style of economy. Such policies will create uncertainty and scare away investors.'
SRP (opposition) legislator Yim Sovann
'The decision was taken to give the municipality more control over what tuk-tuk drivers choose to advertise. Sometimes we don’t know with whom they [advertise].'
Deputy Governor Mann Chhoeun backing up the directive. The Cambodia Daily adds that Mann Chhoeun did not explain why not knowing with whom tuk-tuk drivers advertise was a problem.
'Effect of the order on the overall business climate would be minimal.'
A business expert on condition of anonymity!

So far for the lawmakers (just one) and businessmen (= business expert). After a few months it will have been forgotten…. But that was not all on this subject in today’s Daily. A letter to the editor from Simthay Neb of Phnom Penh:
'Who are the real abusers of Phnom Penh’s public order? Is it really those dastardly, capitalist tuk-tuk drivers? ... And no tuk-tuk driver is as able to blatantly break traffic laws and endanger the public like those who have the protection of a state, police, National Assembly, Senate or RCAF license plate.'
In Cambodia there are license plates for the masses and license plates for the privileged which are easily distinguishable. Stay clear they mean!
'It is extremely misguided and hypocritical for City Hall to pinpoint tuk-tuk divers as abusers of public order and defilers of the city's beauty. ... It's a pity that more of the high and mighty don't follow their socially-responsible lead by slapping an anti-corruption sticker alongside their proud Lexus symbol. ... Good leaders respond to social needs.'
Nothing to add. (?)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Next up!

The local government in all it's wisdom is conducting a vendetta against all traffic 'eyesores' apparently. After half-heartedly improving the 'mirror on motorbike market prospects' (last week's mirror count in front of Mobitel offices on Sihanouk: 19 without mirrors, 15 with and two with just a single mirror), banning all buses that have no long-term deals with the municipality and trying to rid from the most beautiful roads in Phnom Penh the existence of small-time fuel sellers (due to the terrorist threat they impose), high-wheeling tuk-tuk drivers are the next off. To finance their lifestyles the tuk-tuk drivers have turned to selling advertisements on the back of their tuk-tuk's. The hard earned cash (5-10 $US / month) is certainly needed to fuel their illegal habits (surviving with a wife and kids) so the Governor has decreed back in November that advertising on tuk-tuk's is no more!

According to a news article in today's (February 6, 2007) Cambodia Daily, that is. Kep Chuktema, the Municipal Governor is quoted:
'To guarantee public order and beauty, City Hall would like to advise three-wheel motorbike owners who are carrying all forms of commercial advertisements that they must remove them immediately'.

Beauty? Does the guv want advise on beauty? Barking up the wrong tree.
The article relates that:
'Tuk-tuk drivers may only carry adverts raising public awareness on issues such as bird flu, tuberculosis, AIDS and domestic violence the directive states'.

Could we not include 'poor decision making' (a crucial part of the domestic violence combatting strategy: 'If you hadn't gone drinking...' = poor decision!?) Are these advertisements hereby more beautiful (Crossing Cambodia thinks not)?
The Municipal Traffic Police Chief favours a licensing system and adds:
'Let them [tuk-tuk] have number plates first'.

Yes what about vehicles with no number plates: tendency to be big, well-maintained, fast, flashy, ...

The final question the article touches on is whether a private vehicle has the right to advertise either itself (company, ngo) or another's offerings? Most countries have solved this amicably and in favour of the owner, in Cambodia the politician decides, imposes and forgets after 2-3 months!

Friday, February 02, 2007

‘Life on the Khmer Railways’

'Life on the Khmer Railways'
Drawings and Paintings Nov 20 - Feb 15, 2006'

Srey Bandole@ The Art House in Siem Reap
Srey Bandole was born in 1972 in Battambang province. From 1982 until 1990 he studied painting with a French woman named Veronique Decrop at ‘Site II’ camp along the Khmer-Thai border. Decrop was the founder of Phare Ponleu Selapak (Phare art school). This school moved to Battambang in 1995 and Srey Bandole has taught drawing and painting from 1995 to the present day.
During the period 1990 – 1995 Bandole worked as a military doctor in Thmor Pouk district, Banteay Meanchey province.

'I live in Battambang province, a place where the trains go through from Poipet to Phnom Penh. This railway was built during the French colonial occupation. The bamboo trains are now in such poor condition and it keeps running so slowly that it seems like a snake crawling. To help their miserable lives, the disadvantaged, including women and hundreds of families have used the train compartments as their permanent shelters. Some people have lived in the railway stations for 25 years. Nowadays they seem to be increasingly lonely as most passengers prefer to go by bus. Sooner or later the government will start a renovation project for this means of transport. Only through these 10 drawings can the shadow of the past be brought back and remind us and the younger generations about the railways and the people that live by their tracks, otherwise they will be abandoned and forgotten forever'.

Srey Bandole

(The Art House is situated upstairs at The Warehouse in the centre of Siem Reap)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Educating ...

DPA via kindly plagiarizing by the Khmer Intelligence site are glad to announce that a new scheme to earn cash for the Cambodian government that the Cambodian government is elaborating on how to educate the many moto drivers:
Cambodia's cavalier motorbike taxi drivers, or motodops, are to be provided with a school to try to reign in their notoriously dangerous driving, an official said Wednesday.

Ung Chung Hour, director of the Land Transport Department of the nation's Transport Ministry, said media reports detailing litanies of dangerous and sometimes drunken exploits of motodops who understand little about road rules and care about them even less had prompted him to set up a school.

'The school will teach them how to drive for free. However, at the end of the course, they will have to pay about 10 dollars to sit an exam and receive a license,' Chung Hour said.

'The idea is to encourage them to do a driving course before they start their business, the same as in more modern countries. I will be very happy if the idea runs smoothly, and I have asked the government for financial assistance to get it started.'

At least one private company has also already donated chairs for the budding students and will provide the licenses for those who pass, he added, and he hopes aid organizations will also help.

Chung Hour has tailored his own course, including writing the lessons himself. The course will cover basic road rules as well as safety modules on issues such as effects of drinking and driving in a country where prosecution for the offense is unknown.

'I want to make a difference. I want to make an achievement to public safety that is remembered,' Chung Hour said.

There are no statistics for the number of motodops operating in Cambodia at any one time as they are not licensed and there are currently no restrictions on who can up take the occupation.

The streets of major towns and cities are filled with motorbikes offering the cheap door-to-door moto taxi service and it is a popular way for provincial people seeking work in the capital to earn an interim living after they arrive.

News of the course was met with indifference by motodops surveyed Wednesday, many of whom saw it as an additional tax and worried that time spent in the classroom would take away from time that could be spent earning money.

But the rapidly increasing road toll has become a cause of concern to the government as roads improve and traffic increases, and there is increasing pressure to improve road safety measures from both the government and concerned non-government agencies.

These concerns could be at least partially allayed by ensuring taxi drivers know the rules of the road, according to Chung Hour, who says his free course will soon be followed by tougher measures.

'The course begins in February. After six months or so, when we know how long it takes to teach, we will look at imposing fines for drivers who do not have a license,' he said.
  • 'The course will cover basic road rules as well as safety modules on issues such as effects of drinking and driving in a country where prosecution for the offense is unknown.'
    Odd, what if the prosecution situation changes, or is refraining from drinking and driving thought to be achieved through voluntary abstinence?
  • 'increasing pressure to improve road safety measures from both the government and concerned non-government agencies'.
    The pressure to improve road safety measures comes from the general public, in most cases the victims. The government is whom they hold accountable, if the government would just even try to put some kind of genuine effort into sorting traffic rules, regulations and law enforcement, much could be achieved. But with such schemes ...
  • 'After six months or so'
    Could we hope to be more precise ..., we are talking about law enforcement in due course.
  • When idea's are brought into action, normally the idea's are floated first and especially on this subject it may help to know what neighbouring countries experience is, but it looks like that Cambodia has an unique plan.
  • A quick look at the web site of the concerned Ministry reveals the following:
    'The Department of Road Transport is in charge:
a. The computerized management on activities:
  • Computerize the driving - license, the registration certificate, and the authorization concerning the transport.
  • Manage the certificate money order.
  • Prepare the statistics of all direction activities.
b. The control of the regulations and the control of the circulation:
  • Elaborate the regulations concerning the road circulation.
  • Control the training of driving license examiner and driving school instructor.
  • Coordinate the road accident prevention activities and control the road circulation.
  • Provide and deliver the circulation authorization.'
It clearly states that current policies imply the Transport Ministry is responsible for current licensing, so why the need for new ways to achieve the same?
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