The government could save nearly $100 million between now and 2020 if it passes the draft traffic law and enforces mandatory helmet usage as soon as possible, a road safety group said Wednesday.
Madeleine Carr, an advocacy and strategic planning advisor with the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation (AIPF), said at a press conference that a study into the cost-effectiveness of such a law found that property damage, administration, medical and human costs would decrease significantly with fewer fatal crashes.
“The current road crash situation in Cambodia is alarming,” she said.
“In the past eight years, the population of Cambodian has grown by 11 percent and in the same period, road traffic fatalities have doubled. In 2012, more than five lives were lost and many more seriously injured on the nation’s roads each day, costing the country approximately $329 million. Two thirds of road crash fatalities involve motorcyclists, of whom 66 percent suffer head injuries.”
A presentation given by AIPF country director Kim Pagna said 561 lives could be saved, 10,572 head injuries prevented and more than $98 million saved per year.
Ms. Carr said it should therefore be a priority for the government to not only pass the draft traffic law, which would make it mandatory for both drivers and passengers to wear helmets, but to also see such articles enforced.
Peou Maly, secretary-general of the National Road Safety Committee, said the draft law could be passed by the end of the year.
“With the new law approved, helmet use would increase and road accidents would decrease—we are losing $300 million every year,” he said.
Mr. Maly said 1,956 people died on the country’s roads last year.
“Sixty-nine percent of accidents are caused by motorcycles, while in 66 percent of accidents, people were driving without helmets,” Mr. Maly said, adding that 13 percent are caused by drunk driving.
Last month, road safety experts warned the government is going to miss its goal of cutting traffic deaths by 50 percent before 2020 unless drastic steps are taken to enforce the law and punish violators.
crothers@cambodiadaily.com, mengleng@cambodiadaily.com
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