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.Comments:
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:
b. The control of the regulations and the control of the circulation:
- 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.
- 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?