Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday called on motorcycle riders
to wear helmets “100 percent” to avoid the hundreds of traffic fatalities that
occur each year.
“If you want to drive your motorcycle without a fine, you
must wear your helmet from now on,” he said during a graduate student ceremony
in Phnom Penh, “to protect your life and to avoid road accidents as well as
More the 1,500 people were reported killed in traffic
accidents in 2007, nearly double the number in 2003. An Asian Development Bank
survey in 2003 counted 824 dead in road accidents, estimating a $116 million
cost to the country.
“The traffic law will be fully implemented and fined from
Jan. 1, 2009, because the road accidents causes the loss of human life more and
more,” Hun Sen said, calling traffic fatalities a “bigger disaster” than AIDS and
The prime minister also called on civil servants, police and
commune and village leaders to wear helmets as an example, while urging helmet
vendors to keep prices low.
Travel on Cambodian roadways without a helmet is punishable
by a 3,000 riel, or $0.70, fine. By contrast, a helmet can cost between $10 and
Meas Chan Dy, coordinator for helmet safety at Handicap
International Belgium, called helmets “a very good measure for reducing road
accidents,” and he urged strong implementation of all traffic laws for all
Brig. Gen. Tho Khan, director of traffic order for the
Ministry of Interior, said Monday police would strengthen the traffic law “with
efficiency and effectiveness.”
“More importantly, we must introduce people to understanding
the law and help protect their lives and property,” he said.