Human behavior is the leading cause of traffic issues in Cambodia. Particularly, you may feel frustrated with traffic in Phnom Penh. Of course, traffic issues, not limited to the congestion and accident, is a huge problem that needs to be immediately addressed by policy makers and government institutions. It may involve death in traffic accident.
Statistics show that driving over the speed limit, drunk driving, and careless are among the major reasons. A direct impact of traffic jam is that we are wasting money on petrol and gasoline. It may effect indirectly on our country’s economic efficiency as the whole if we are not being punctual. Besides the human behavior, another significant factors contributing to traffic issues include growing urban population, capital expansion, increasing of number of vehicle…etc.
There are proposed practical solutions to reduce the traffic issues in Phnom Penh. The most recently, Cambodian government has imposed temporary fine by double for those who violate the most common traffic rules such as driving without helmet, speeding, running a stop sign or red light, driving under the influence, in order to reduce traffic incidents and to raise awareness on traffic issue. Moreover, the need for reform relating to practices by government institutions, with proposal to move state buildings to the capital’s outskirts and avoid blocking streets for ceremonial activities and security details.
What are the long-term solutions to decrease traffic issues, particularly traffic accident and congestion? Is it the solution to just reinforcing the existing law? The poor will be affected severely caused by the traffic law implementation. Only reinforcing the existing law will not provide a sustainable solution to reduce traffic issues in Cambodia. Instead, we should input good manners to change Cambodian’s driving habits.
Motorcycle is the most common transportation mean in Cambodia. According to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, in 2016, the number of registered vehicle was 3.2 million vehicles, including 2.7 million motorbikes. Traditionally, the majority of motorcycle has been characterized by private small-engine or egalitarian mode of transport. Before buying motorcycle, Cambodia mostly follows some criteria such as: low price, ability to carry more than two people, and resilience that would last for ten or 20 years. If the government focuses on technical checks on the motorbike in order to comply with international standard, the low-income will be vulnerable.
Our sustainable solution is that we propose motorcycle driver to obtain a driving license. Under current status quo, motorcycle driver, whose rides are 125cc or less; which represents majority of driver in Cambodia, is not required to have a driving license. Driving without common knowledge of traffic rules, which acquire have in order to pass a test, caused chaos on streets in Cambodia. Rights and obligations under the Traffic Law are importantly crucial for drivers. It is very dangerous as most accident victims are on motorcycles. Even the government promises to increase their campaigns to disseminate and teach wisely about the traffic law to the public, especially through radio, television and pictorial banners in public to increase awareness, but doubtful and uncertainty about its effectiveness still remains. As those forms of education may not as effective as it assumed, a driving license is possibly the most effective and thorough way to guarantee that drivers have the basic knowledge on traffic rules.
Cambodia has a reputation to import unwanted things from abroad. For example, used vehicles account for approximately between 70 to 90 percent of the car market. There is less restriction mechanism at its borders and/or ports regulating on what can be brought in. For the meantime, Cambodia government has no policy to prohibit import of second-hand cars despite concerns that Cambodia falls behind other countries in ASEAN over safety and consumer protection. Consequently, Cambodian buyers may encounter problems with support, and poor engine performance. In this case, Imposing appropriate and reasonable restrictions and/or inspections on second-hand cars importation not only reduces the said figure, but it would also reduce the number of traffic incidents. If the government regulates stricter rules on the vehicle’s technical issues, it should review the policy on used cars importation.
Government authorities should take serious measures to eliminate corruption in driving license administration. Among drivers, there is a limited understanding of the traffic law. Many drivers have not gone through proper road traffic education, and testing, but enable to obtain a driving license. The culture of unofficial fees should be replaced by the “gesture of responsibility.” In addition, government official should act as role models for ordinary citizens; especially traffic polices who sometimes fail to comply with the traffic rules themselves with fine freed. Rather than imposing temporary doubled-fine on traffic violations, we should input knowledge and good manner on traffic rules in order to change our Cambodian’s driving habits.