Crossing Cambodia

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Chasing Cars, Cambo style, April 2, 2008

Some traffic news latests from Cambodia, arriving shortly after UN discuss and emphasize traffic safety and highlight the amount of (unnecessary) deaths worldwide. Make Roads Safe!
Worldwide probably includes Cambodia. From Cambodia though no news. For instance, one would have expected that by now wearing helmets would be compulsory (which it is) and enforced, but still only 15-30% wear helmets and that's in central Phnom Penh. And can we count how many traffic lights are now not working, this for weeks?
Anyway, the Cambodia Daily yesterday (April 1 2008), printed an article by Norman Mineta which had previously been published in the Washington Post. Excerpts:
'But more than 3,000 people will die on the world's highways today. ...
It took the US 40 years to reverse a trend in increasing traffic deaths.It took time for us to build safer roads and require safer cars, and for safer behavior to evolve on the part of the drivers and other users'.
Forty years? And Cambodia has just started!
'Sweden, the Netherlands and Australia are showing that road deaths are preventable through sustained political commitment to the use of seat belts and motorcycle helmets, to curbing speeding and drunk driving, and to investment in safer road and vehicle designs. It is an approach that can be applied in any country, rich or poor'.
That must include Cambodia. But sustained political commitment, here in Cambodia? Nah.

Now the news:
  • Citizens of Takeo province are biting the dust:
    'Villagers in Takeo's Bati district erected more than 40 makeshift roadblocks Sunday along a 6 km road to stop trucks from blanketing their communities in dust as they haul stones from a quarry'.
    A report from Cambodia daily (April 1, 2008). And what about the company doing the quarrying? The manager:
    "I admit there is dust. But the dust dust does not make sick".
    This is however disputed by the district governor. The solution (after 10 years of quarrying and two years of failure to address the problem): a typical Cambodian pow-wow! Do we know the result yet? Nah (da?).
  • Trucks continue to trouble Takeo. Where in the world can a major national highway be crippled by an overloaded truck? Cambodia?
    'An overloaded truck destroyed the Slar Kou Bridge in Tram Kork district’s Pou Pel commune on the National Road 3 on 27 March 2008. The truck went away after the incident between 12:30pm and 1pm, said Tram Kork police chief Nhem Sien. No one saw the accident because it was the relax time. The bridge was a bit old, the police chief added'.
    From the site, with some grammar edits.
  • Flying directly to the east from Phnom Penh used to halt just over the border in Bangkok. Will Qatar revolutionize this sector as they have done in the past with destinations such as Kathmandu - Nepal, which as Cambodia has / had no (real) flag carrier?
  • Another senseless death?
    'An unidentified man died at the scene when he rode his motorbike to hit a cow crossing Choum Chao road'.
  • Holy Cow?
    'A Cambodian man who took his lover for a spin in his new car was caught out when he pulled into his driveway to be confronted by his wife brandishing petrol, which she proceeded to pour over the vehicle and ignite, police said on Tuesday. Seing Sokny, 25, was alerted to her husband's clandestine drive with his lover in the northern tourist town of Siem Reap by her friends and decided to hit him where it hurt most. ....
    Vibol, 39, had purchased the Toyota Corolla just four days earlier for around $5,000.'.
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