Friday, March 12, 2010

Cambodia Increases Helmet Fine for Motorbike Riders

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Royal Government of Cambodia will increase seven folds in penalties for drivers who don’t wear headgear, to promote road safety to reduce the traffic risk danger.

Him Yan, Director of the Public Order Department in the Interior Ministry, said that the government will increase the helmet and belt fine for motorcycle drivers and car drivers who are not wearing the helmets or belts whilst driving along roads in Cambodia.

The Ministry of Interior will increase the helmet fine from 3,000 riel ($ 0.7) to 21,000 riel (about $5) for motorbike drivers and from 5,000 riel to 35,000 riel (about $8) for drivers who have not obeyed the traffic law.

Him Yan continued to say that the increase of helmet and belt fine are less than what is implemented in Thailand and Vietnam where they have been charged helmet-less motorbike drivers, in Thailand the charge is around $12 in and about $10 in Vietnam.

“I think that the increasing of helmet and the belt fines is the only way that we will be able to encourage our people to use helmets for reducing the traffic accidents and fatality in Cambodia,” he said. “If we do not increase the helmets or belt fine, drivers will have not stopped their bad habits and they seem to look down on the traffic law and we not be able to reduce the road traffic accidents and mortality rate in Cambodia,” he told reporters after an inter-ministries meeting in Phnom Penh on March 2.

According to the amendment of the Land Traffic Law, people who drive motorbikes without using helmets will be fined 21,000 riel (about $5) while the old fine is only 3,000 riel (about $0.75); and those who drive the cars without belt wearing will be fined 35,000 riel (about $8) while the previous fine was only 5,000 riel (over $1).

The Director said that according to the Ministry of Interior’s report, so far about 90 percent of motorbike drivers wear helmets during the day, but only 50 percent do so at night. He added that drunken driving and speeding, and failure to wear helmets are considered one of the primary factors contributing to traffic fatalities in Cambodia.

According to the most recent survey conducted by the Road Crash and Victim Information System of the Handicap International Belgium, only 59 percent of drivers on stretches of National Roads 1, 4 and 5 were wearing helmets in January, along with 11 percent of passengers. ///.

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