Mandatory Drug Test in New Traffic Law

A new traffic law is being drafted that includes mandatory drug tests for people working in the driving and transport sector in a bid to slash road accidents nationwide
Police officers direct traffic in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Police officers direct traffic in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa

Authorities are drafting a new traffic law that includes mandatory drug tests to work as a driver as part of a raft of measures to make Cambodia’s roads safer.

Minister of Interior, Sar Kheng, said on Wednesday that the government is preparing the new laws to help Cambodia reduce traffic accidents.

The new law stipulates that all drivers are required to ensure traffic safety, including a requirement that anyone who wants to work as a driver must have a drug-free health certificate. This includes taxi and truck drivers.

Any drivers in the transport sector who test positive face losing their job, the minister said during the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims in Phnom Penh.

“Of course, to solve all these problems, we need to have enough rules, standards, tactics to be a political line for this traffic, but it requires the participation of all stakeholders, especially users of the road,” he added.

Kheng noted that in the past, taking the test was voluntary. Now the ministry wants to make it mandatory for all drivers working in the sector.

“We are doing a new draft law but this law is the same as the old one. But when we put it in practice, gaps appear or there are inconsistencies stated in the rules, so all travellers need to do it as an obligation,” he said.

Kheng also noted that without prevention and control measures, road accidents will continue to increase

In addition to the new law, Kheng recommended paying high attention to education, training and strengthening the professional capacity of law enforcement officers, and strictly discipline officials who violate the law and professional ethics.

He also requested the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to promote the installation of road safety equipment, especially traffic signs and security cameras, and all ministries, institutions, national and international organizations, artists, establishments, companies and the private sector to continue to support the education and dissemination of road traffic laws.

Yang Kim Eng, president of People Centre for Development and Peace, said drugs and alcohol are a common cause of traffic accidents. He added that enforcement of the law is key to reducing incidents, and said alcohol testing should also be made mandatory.

“I really regret if we say testing for drugs, why not test for alcohol, which is currently a serious danger while driving in the area? The implementation of this traffic law, of course, we see that there are alcohol controls, but we rarely see [them enforced],” Kim Eng said.

He added modern drivers often carry out unsafe driving habits, such as using the road for recreation, driving while using their mobile phone and not respecting traffic lights. He suggested the government implement and enforce strict laws and add more traffic signs.

“Nowadays alcohol signs come, but look at the traffic signs and see this is a sad thing. At the same time, law enforcement officers have to strictly enforce laws. Stubborn offenders should be fined,” he said.

According to a Road Safety Committee report, in the first half of 2022, the number of traffic accidents increased by 348 (28 percent) compared with the same period last year. The number of fatalities increased by 233 (33 percent) and the number of injured increased by 433 (25 percent).

Of the 759 motorcyclists killed (81 percent of the total), 558 were not wearing helmets. A total of 57 percent of accidents at night resulted in 58 percent fatalities.