More than 1,600 Cambodians died in road accidents in 2010, a number that has leveled off compared to the previous year, officials said Tuesday.
Him Yan, director of the Interior Ministry’s department of public order, said the death toll had dropped by five people, from 1,654 in 2009, while the number of injured also fell, by 770 people from 10,310 last year.
The slight decrease in fatalities was linked to stricter enforcement of helmet laws and measures to prevent drunk driving, Him Yan said. This was done through stricter law enforcement overall and public awareness campaigns, as well as the construction of better roads, he said.
In an annual report discussed by police and road safety advocates in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, speeding was identified as the No. 1 cause of accidents, accounting for nearly half, while drunk driving accounted for about 12 percent. Other causes include drivers not respecting the right-of-way, carelessness, and breaking of traffic laws.
Kong Sovan, a project manager for traffic safety for the World Health Organization, said tighter controls on helmet use and crackdowns on drunk drivers helped.
“In addition, we've provided training and professional equipment and materials to police to strengthen traffic laws and reduce road accidents in the future,” he said.
Prime Minister Hun Sen last year lambasted road accidents as the leading cause of death for Cambodians.
Sa Hua, undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Health, said road accidents were a cause for concern not only for people's health, but the national economy as well.