TRAFFIC officials said Sunday that the number of road accidents recorded during Khmer New Year increased compared to last year, but that the number of fatalities dipped slightly.
Him Yan, director of the Department of Public Order at the Interior Ministry, said there had been a total of 254 road accidents between April 13 and April 17, compared to 240 accidents in 2009. A total of 49 people died, down from 52 the previous year, he said.
“There were 49 people who died, 296 people who were seriously injured and 234 people who were lightly injured,” he said, adding that Battambang province saw the highest number of recorded casualties.
He said that, as in previous years, most of the accidents were caused by speeding, drunken driving and the presence of overloaded vehicles on the roads, and estimated that “40 percent of 50 percent” were caused by speeding young motorbike drivers.
Heng Chantheary, chief of the municipal Traffic Police, said there were five traffic accidents in the capital resulting in 12 injuries – three of them serious – and no deaths.
Last year, he said, five people died and 10 suffered serious injuries, while 13 others sustained light injuries.
He attributed the drop in casualties to greater knowledge of traffic rules on the part of drivers.
“The passengers and other people know more about the Traffic Law, and they respect each other while travelling along the road,” he said.
Meas Channy, traffic safety officer for the NGO Handicap International Belgium, said he had not yet received full reports on traffic accidents, but emphasised that drivers and police should try to curb accidents as Phnom Penh residents return from the provinces.