Hun Sen seeks driving ban for repeat traffic offenders

Hun Sen seeks driving ban for repeat traffic offenders

A motorcyclist rides recklessly through a street in Takeo province. (Khmer Times photo)
A motorcyclist rides recklessly through a street in Takeo province. (Khmer Times photo)

PHNOM PENH: Prime Minister Hun Sen wants motorists who repeatedly flout traffic rules to be banned from driving.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the Interior Ministry’s annual conference on Thursday, Hun Sen suggested relevant authorities should consider revoking their licences and ban them from driving for a period of years.

“I recommend that related public institutions should look into amending the road traffic laws to have violators punished strictly,” the Khmer Times on Friday quoted him as saying. “My idea is when a motorist disobeys the rules for a second time, the fine should be doubled. If the offence is repeated for a third time, the fine should be trebled.”

“Perhaps the third time is an opportunity to revoke the driving licence and ban the violator from driving for one or two years,” he added.

Hun Sen instructed officials to look into the possibility of doing this, noting some drivers have disrespected the traffic laws because they are rich and are able to pay fines.

“Do not allow them to continue to break the laws. We must punish them and ban them from driving. They can travel but they can’t drive the vehicle,” he said. “We are doing so not just to punish traffic lawbreakers but also to protect their lives.”

Hun Sen also ordered traffic police to strictly enforce laws on motorists who ride motorbikes without a helmet in order to ensure that they understand the risk of driving without protection.

Maj Gen Heng Chantheary, the National Traffic Police and Public Order Department director, said on Thursday the amendment of the law on road traffic is now in progress, noting that 20 articles have been rewritten so far.

“The idea of revoking the driving licence has been put into consideration. We are now still working on the content of each article in order to ensure the law will help to reduce traffic accidents,” he said.

The National Road Safety Committee has reported  4,121 road accidents countrywide last year killed 1,981 people and injured 6,141.

It said the number increased by 26 percent compared with 2018, the death toll rose by 12%, while the number of injuries went up by 29%.

The report noted that an average of 5.4 people die every day on the roads. Most of the road accidents last year occurred in the capital, with 348 deaths, followed by Preah Sihanouk province with 149 and Kandal province with 143.

The causes of the accidents include speeding, overtaking, drunk driving and violating traffic laws.

According to the Transport Ministry, traffic accidents cost the government nearly US$350 million a year.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng on Thursday said at the event that the surge in traffic accidents in 2019 had reached an alarming rate, but the death toll has decreased considerably by 34% this month compared with the same period in January.

“It surprises me to see such a decrease in one month. I’m now figuring out if this is because of the orders Samdech Hun Sen and I gave to the traffic police to strictly crack down on violators or whether it is caused by something else,” he said.

Institute for Road Safety deputy director Kong Ratanak said traffic police should conduct regular checks on motorists, adding a few did not attend driving school and had no knowledge of traffic rules.

“If we look into the death toll from traffic accidents, most victims were motorcyclists. I’m not fully convinced merely increasing the punishment for offences will help,” he said on Thursday.

Ratanak urged ministries and institutions to also increase traffic law enforcement and vehicle inspections, especially for over-loaded trucks.


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