After repeated failures, the Cambodian National Police has increased traffic fines by up to five times starting May 1 in an attempt to force motorists to obey and comply with the Traffic Law.
The announcement was made on April 28 by the National Police and increased fines on people driving without a helmet from $4 to $15. Drunk driving in vehicles will carry a $1,000 fine, up from $200 previously. Whereas, drivers of smaller passenger vehicles will be fined $500, up from $100, if caught drunk driving.
“The forces will implement this responsibly, equally, firmly, ethically and transparently with a polite and dignitary attitude,” said the police statement.
Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday asked people to respect the traffic law, such as using a driver’s license.
National Police spokesperson Chhay Kim Khoeun said the tough measures were meant to force people to respect the traffic law. He said the government has attempted to reduce road deaths after it reached a new record last year, registering 2,000 road deaths in 2019.
“The increasing fine is not for money,” he told VOA Khmer on Wednesday. “It doesn’t affect people’s living. If they respect the law, it is fine,” he added.
Kong Ratanak, director of the Institute for Road Safety, said the measure should not be implemented now since people were worried about COVID-19 and having financial constraints.
“It can be another burden for them with the new fine,” he said.
He said it was equally important the police effectively implement the law and have transparency when fining motorists.
A National Police report showed that there was an increase in the number of people killed in road accidents in 2019, with the authorities recording 1,981 deaths last year.
In November, Interior Minister Sar Kheng seemed almost hopeless at the ministry’s efforts to curb road accidents and deaths, making a call for any stakeholders to provide new solutions for the issue.
Government forecasts made in 2011 pegged traffic accidents to increase to 3,200 deaths in 2020, if additional measures are not taken to curb the rise in fatalities. However, the government, at the time, hoped to enforce interventions that would limit road deaths to around 1,600 this year.