Crossing Cambodia

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Chasing Cars, August 16, 2010

Really not much to mention over the past few months, only quirky press messages. Or not?
  • Are crash / fatality rates going up or down? No one seems to know. All they do know is:
    'If traffic police continue to enforce the law, I think fatalities will decrease'. However a recent report suggest a rise which has lead to a government initiated new traffic safety action plan. In writing the plan looks excellent: 'The plan, devised by a multi-agency road safety committee, calls for increased funding and the development of expertise in order to improve road safety.
    Improved safety will require better infrastructure, better trained drivers and speed and traffic flow management, according to the plan, released earlier this week.
    The plan also calls for improved major national roads and the training of engineers for road safety audits and other oversight. It will target major risks, including speeding, driving without a helmet, seatbelt or child restraint and drunk driving. It will also target overloaded vehicles and improve the reaction time for first responders.
    Other strategies include public education, road safety curriculum in schools and universities and peer-to-peer education. Education campaigns will be linked to law enforcement initiatives.
    Under the plan, the Ministry of Health hopes to strengthen national emergency medical services, including first aid, transport, capacity of hospitals, mechanisms to manage the system and integrated information systems. Physical rehabilitation of the victim post-crash will also become a feature in the plan.
    Traffic legislation will also need updated for modern traffic conditions, and the laws must be better enforced, according to the plan. This will include better drivers licensing in a database linked between police and the judiciary'.
    But how will this translate in reality ...
  • Reality check 1. From the Phnom Penh Post:
    'A customs officer based at the Bavet international border crossing in Svay Rieng province crashed into an ambulance on Sunday in Romduol district, officials said. Sao Sokun, chief of the provincial traffic police, said the crash injured eight people including the customs officer, but declined to divulge who was at fault in the case. “According to the traffic law, if anyone wounds or disables another, he or she will be caught,” he said. “In this case, [the officer] is not in police custody. In practice, we don’t do like the law says.”'
  • Reality check 2. Phnom Penh Post report on what it takes to become a gangster in Cambodia:
    '45 men and eight women between the ages of 16 and 22 were arrested before daybreak yesterday while riding motorbikes, and that they had been accused of violations including speeding, failing to wear a helmet and using drugs'.
    Anyone failing to wear a helmet in the middle of the night (which covers roughly 95% of all road users at that hour!).
  • Somehow the nations airliner (Cambodia Angkor Air) is going to (over?) expand.
    'The carrier, set up last July in a joint venture between the Cambodian government and Vietnam Airlines, plans to purchase two 168-seat Airbus 321s – which according to a price list compiled by the French maker cost about US$95.5 million each'.
    Where does the money come from? Confidential. It apparently is making modest initial profits despite the following:
    'President of World Express Tours and Travel Ho Vandy, who is also co-chairman of the government-private sector forum on tourism, emphasised that CAA must be competitive.
    “On behalf of the tourism private sector, we’d like to suggest that the CAA should set competitive prices to encourage more passengers to use it,” he said. “We also see that service and hospitality on board is still limited. There should be an improvement, and flight attendants’ uniforms should reflect Khmer national identification.”'
    So what do they reflect now? Modernity? Vietnam?
  • What are SUV's good for? Throwing bricks at pedestrians! A rash of incidents on Phnom Penh's riverfront, most of which are as follows:
    '“I began to cross the road and a car turned down, and a brick hit me in the back.”' Not only SUVs but also pickups. The official response to this rash of incidents? 'Hun Sothy, the police chief in Daun Penh district, said he did not believe the victims’ accounts because he had yet to receive any reports detailing their cases. “I deploy police officers along the street at night to protect tourists, so I don’t think they have happened,” he said. “If there is a victim, they should file a complaint to a police official that is close to them.”'
    More about this on's
  • Cambodia's first fly over has opened. Though it allows most traffic (incl. the PM) going from north to south pass well, east-west is little more tougher. And willing to take a turn? Impossible. Read and try to understand what the architects have done. Courtesy of the Khmer 440 forum came the link to this photo:Caption to the accredited to photo:
    'The second case happened in the next morning, the crazy container’s driver want to test how strong will highway could maintain?'
    Ripped from
  • Another photo of the same object from 'Life in Cambodia':
    'An unintended (but not surprising) result of the new overpass is the creation of a new tourist attraction in Phnom Penh. Although there is no shoulder or pedestrian walkway on it, the new overpass has been swarmed by gawkers who ride their motorbikes to the middle, stop to view the traffic below, and take photos of family members. One traffic hazard has been traded for another. The interest in seeing a bird's eye view of traffic is understandable realizing that the large majority of Cambodian people have never even ridden in a car'.
  • Another khmer 440 forum item discusses whether it's customary or not for Cambodian officials to pilfer accident victims. The fact alone that this is in questions already raises serious doubts ...
  • From Details are Sketchy (so are recent postings) another news item on the impending bridge to Vietnam road saga.
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