Chanthol seeks support for more road safety campaigns

Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol has asked the French Development Agency (AFD) to look into the possibility of providing financial support for public outreach campaigns on road safety. In a meeting on Tuesday with AFD country director Ophelie Bourhis, Chanthol presented development plans being undertaken by the ministry. He also asked AFD to look into the possibility of providing financial support for a public campaign on road accidents and their consequences to help improve the Kingdom’s notoriously dangerous roads.

Chanthol said the ministry is working on several important development projects, including the construction of a road from Kampong Chhnang to Kampong Thom, construction of the Kratie bridge across the upper Mekong River, construction of a new container port in Sihanoukville, a small scale port project in Kampong Cham and the installation of smart public street lighting. He also noted the completion of a logistics master plan to improve transportation in Cambodia, which could attract foreign investment and create jobs for the people. Bourhis acknowledged Chanthol’s proposals, pledging to work closely with the ministry’s officials on projects related to Cambodia’s key infrastructure development.

Institute for Road Safety acting director Kong Ratanak said on Wednesday he supports the participation of more national and international institutions in promoting or organising road safety campaigns in Cambodia. He said he made an estimate 10 years ago that if no action was taken, traffic accidents could lead to over 3,000 fatalities. Last year, there were 1,981 fatalities.

“The number of fatalities was less than 3,000 last year because of some activities we executed, but we have more work to do to meet targets of bringing them down further. We need more education and outreach activities,” Ratanak said. Government institutions, he said, cannot reduce the death toll alone and must be helped through funding and also volunteer outreach activities.

Three priority areas must be improved – education, road conditions and law enforcement, he said. There were 358 road accidents, resulting in 206 fatalities and 559 injuries in January alone, a recent traffic police report showed. Last year, there were 4,121 road accidents, resulting in 1,981 fatalities and 6,141 injuries – an average of 5.4 fatalities per day.

Phnom Penh, Preah Sihanouk and Kandal provinces recorded the most cases.

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