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Government Unveils Traffic Safety Initiative

The government has unveiled a new set of measures to decrease the number of deaths on Cambodian roads.

The National Road Safety Action Plan calls for better designed roads, better law enforcement, better treatment of accident victims and other measures aimed at lowering the fatality rate 30 percent, or about 4,700 lives, over the next 10 years.

Nearly 1,000 people died on the roads in the first six months of 2010. That number is an apparent increase from the total 1,700 deaths in all of 2009.

The plan, devised by a multi-agency road safety committee, calls for increased funding and the development of expertise in order to improve road safety.

Improved safety will require better infrastructure, better trained drivers and speed and traffic flow management, according to the plan, released earlier this week.

The plan also calls for improved major national roads and the training of engineers for road safety audits and other oversight. It will target major risks, including speeding, driving without a helmet, seatbelt or child restraint and drunk driving. It will also target overloaded vehicles and improve the reaction time for first responders.

Other strategies include public education, road safety curriculum in schools and universities and peer-to-peer education. Education campaigns will be linked to law enforcement initiatives.

Under the plan, the Ministry of Health hopes to strengthen national emergency medical services, including first aid, transport, capacity of hospitals, mechanisms to manage the system and integrated information systems. Physical rehabilitation of the victim post-crash will also become a feature in the plan.

Traffic legislation will also need updated for modern traffic conditions, and the laws must be better enforced, according to the plan. This will include better drivers licensing in a database linked between police and the judiciary.