Thursday, 2 October 2008

Road Safety, first assessment concerning the Pchum Ben festival

Cambodge Soir

During the Festival of the Death, a highly important religious celebration for the Cambodians, hundreds of thousands of car and motorbike drivers travelled on the roads throughout the Kingdom. The lack of respect of the Traffic Law and the ignorance of the rules of conduct by the drivers has led to numerous traffic accidents, despite a glowing report from the authorities.

The Pchum Ben holidays took place from Saturday 27 September until Tuesday 30 September. In Phnom Penh, four serious accidents were registered by the police. They resulted in the death of two people and seriously injured four others. According to Tin Pra Seu, in charge of the road safety, these numbers are good because lower than the ones of last year. “This is thanks to the fact that the police was better prepared and also because more people travel by car instead of taking the motorbike to go to their native village”, he explained. In Kampong Cham, on the road to Phnom Penh, which is one of the most dangerous in the Kingdom, eight accidents were registered by the police during these holidays, with three deaths and sixteen injured. For Chhay Koson, deputy commissioner of the provinces, “this year’s increase in numbers of accidents is above all due to the behaviour of the youth with little respect for the traffic rules”. Finally, in Siem Reap, five accidents led to the death of three people and injured twelve others, amongst which five seriously. Thang Sakun, traffic office director for the province, was relatively satisfied. “Even if we have one more death than last year, the number of accidents is decreasing. There were 12 in 2007. This is probably thanks to the traffic campaign”, he explained.

However, these are not definitive numbers because they only take three provinces into account. More detailed statistics should be available through provincial hospitals and public services.

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