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Traffic Crashes More Serious in 2008: Police

Traffic officials and police said Monday excessive speeds on the roads were leading to more deadly accidents this year.

In the first five months of 2008, 10,555 people were injured in traffic accidents while 645 were killed, said Meas Chandy, road safety coordinator for Handicap Cambodia.

In the previous year, more than 2,000 people were injured in the same period, but only 616 died, Meas Chandy said, as a guest on "Hello VOA."

The increase of deaths was the result of "over-speed and drunken driving," said Phnom Penh Deputy Traffic Police Chief Chev Hak, also as a guest on the show.

Cambodia has the highest rate of traffic accidents in Southeast Asia, Chev Hak said.

Meas Chandy urged drivers to wear a helmet, which can greatly reduce the chances of dying in a traffic accident.

Responding to complaints that traffic police shake down Phnom Penh drivers for bribes, Chev Hak said the policy of the traffic policy was to fine officers up to 6 million riel, or $1,500, for illegally demanding money.