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- August 9, 2020 9:53 AM
PHNOM PENH – Prime Minister Hun Manet on Jan. 23 instructed National Police Chief Sar Thet to tighten alcohol control after several traffic accidents caused by drunk drivers claimed many lives on the streets.
The number of alcohol-related traffic accidents has increased and a solution has to be found, PM Hun Manet said in an address to the Ministry of Information, calling for the participation of all stakeholders.
The PM pointed out a Jan. 20 accident in Phnom Penh in which a drunk driver hit another car and four motorbikes causing four deaths and injuring many. The driver has since been detained and charged with reckless driving.
The accident, caused by an official from the Ministry of Economy and Finance, led to a wave of criticism among the public, calling on authorities to take action to reduce the number of alcohol-related traffic accidents.
Last weekend’s crash took place only a few weeks after another highly publicized accident.
On Dec. 14, a Jeep Overland hit and killed a man on a motorcycle in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district. The deceased later was known to be a national athlete.
Hun Manet called these accidents a tragedy.
He asked National Police Chief Sar Thet to strengthen alcohol controls and breath test on the road.
“Nobody wanted it. Even the driver didn’t want it [to happen]. But it [alcohol] was inside [his body]. [Alcohol] needs to be prevented from [being consumed] when driving,” he said.
“Tighten the law [enforcement] and controls,” he said.
Hun Manet also highlighted the role of media in raising awareness among the public on the impact of drugs and alcohol.
The prime minister said that he had given the order to local television companies not to promote alcoholic drinks on live broadcasts anymore. A recent TV program showing teenagers drinking beers in a boxing ring led to a public outcry.
The video was later deleted, he said.
Excessive alcohol promotion is seen as a factor leading to more consumption.
According to the National Police, a total of 3,317 traffic accidents occurred in 2023, killing 1,590 people and injuring 4,515.
The number of accidents increased by 341 cases, or 11 percent, from the 2,976 recorded in 2022. The fatality rate declined by 7 percent, from the 1,709 deaths in 2022.