Getting into a traffic accident anywhere is serious, but in Cambodia it’s particularly so. In the evenings, many drivers are distracted, intoxicated and not particularly swayed by the few stoplights the town has to offer. Cambodian roads can vary considerably in quality
Cambodian roads can vary considerably in quality
The only traffic laws that are regularly enforced are ones that involve small fines for improper licenses or lack of rear-view mirrors, rather than more serious moving violations like speeding or drunk driving. And what’s most frightening is that the number of fatalities are growing as Cambodia continues to develop — new sealed roads allow for faster speeds and more traffic deaths. Medical services haven’t kept pace with the road work, though, and going to a hospital here can be just as dangerous as driving.
One only has to spend a few days cruising around Phnom Penh before seeing at least a few traffic accidents, ranging from minor to major.
During my first week in Phnom Penh I saw a group of freshie boy-types drive their car directly into a moto driver. After being thrown to the ground, the man dragged himself up, clearly in pain. The car full of young men began honking and threatened to run the man over again if he didn’t move his now destroyed moto out of their path. I wrote down their license number — thinking, with the naivete of a new expat, that I could report it — only to find out that there’s generally no enforcement and no punishment, especially when the perpetrators are the sort of connected young men that can afford cars. Looks can be deceiving: Cambodian roads often appear little trafficked
Looks can be deceiving: Cambodian roads often appear little trafficked
I hate that I’ve become the type of person that acts like an adult, but after hearing some of the most recent horror stories of expats or tourists that have been involved in traffic accidents through no fault of their own, and being thrown from a moto myself...
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