The National Assembly yesterday approved amendments to nine articles in the Traffic Law, including an article which does not require people riding motorcycles under 125cc to have licenses.
The amendments were passed with 93 out of 100 votes in favor of it, despite select opposition members prefacing the vote by saying the amendments were potentially dangerous for road users.
“We know that traffic accidents mostly occur due to people’s lack of understanding of the traffic laws,” opposition CNRP member Mao Monivan said.
“They use public roads but they do not understand the traffic laws so they need training to understand it and to make sure their vehicles are up to standard.
“That way they can use roads without any accidents,” he added before voting in favor of the amendments.
The amendments passed yesterday were to article 40, about the kinds of licenses needed for certain vehicles, article 48 on the technical characteristics of vehicles, article 75 on vehicle arrests, article 77 on the use of fake documents, article 82 on unintentional murder and article 90 on criminal lawsuits, among others.
In response to the CNRP’s opposition to the amendments, Prime Minister Hun Sen said the party is entitled to include different traffic laws in its own party policy if it were unhappy with yesterday’s decision.
He also said they need not support the amendments if they did not agree with them.
“The biggest problem is not the driving license, but it’s the understanding of the traffic law,” he said.
“I urge citizens to understand traffic laws and know how to drive properly since now they do not need driving licenses.”
The seventh plenary session yesterday saw participation by 100 of the 123 National Assembly members, but it is unclear how many of them were from the ruling CPP or the opposition.
Acting CNRP president Kem Sokha also supported the government’s traffic law amendments, adding that the opposition did not have an official policy on driving licenses for motorcyclists.
“For me, I support these amendments,” he said.
The initial Traffic Law was passed in January, but an outcry over the law’s new rules and regulations forced officials to push its roll out date back to March and remove some stipulations from the law.
Among a bevy of complaints, citizens said the prices for licenses were too high and questioned whether enough was being done to preemptively stop corrupt traffic police from taking advantage of the new law.
Government officials have lauded the law and its implementation, pointing to decreased road accident numbers this year as evidence that their plan was having an effect.
But a nearly year-long report into the law’s implementation released late last month by Stakeholder Engagement and Support found that more than 60 percent of respondents either knew little about the new law or nothing at all.
The Transport Ministry has said it is trying to spread the message about the rules within the new law, but they are having little success without strict police enforcers backing it up.
So far this year there have been 3,338 reported traffic accidents, down 11 percent from the 3,789 during the same period last year, police have said.