Calls for integration of traffic law into national curriculum

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A policeman directs traffic in Phnom Penh. Hong Menea

With the number of traffic accidents rising at an alarming rate, claiming up to six lives a day, the National Police has requested the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport integrate traffic law into the national curriculum from primary through to secondary school levels.

According to a report released by the National Committee for Road Safety on Wednesday, traffic accidents totalled 693 cases in the first two months of this year, killing 310 people and injuring 1,077 others.

Phnom Penh recorded the highest number of deaths, with 52 people killed, followed by Kandal and Kampong​ Speu provinces, with 27 and 21 killed, respectively.

National Police chief Neth Savoeun told The Post on Sunday that reducing traffic accidents required concerted efforts. Increasing lessons on traffic law, which he said were still limited at schools nationwide, would broaden students’ knowledge of road safety.

Savoeun also called on the Ministry of Education to consider including traffic law in class tests and national exams, potentially as part of a graduate thesis at university level. The objective, he said, is to make students conduct extensive research on the topic.

“Traffic [knowledge] is crucial. Only when we all join hands can we move ahead. We’ve already discussed the issue with the National Road Safety Committee and we will now request the Ministry of Education to consider increasing the hours [for traffic lessons],” he said.

During an annual meeting at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport in Phnom Penh last week, deputy National Police chief Him Yan also placed emphasis on the issue, requesting the Ministry of Education increase the hours spent on traffic law lessons from 15 hours to 30 hours a year.

“I call on the National Road Safety Committee to request the Ministry of Education to consider this. In other countries, traffic law lessons are included even at kindergartens, not only at primary and secondary schools. They have many different tools for pupils to learn about traffic lights and signs."

“They have toy cars . . . cartoons that are good for students to understand traffic law. It helps young people gain knowledge of traffic law and signs. Such tools can help us easily expand students’ knowledge of traffic law,” he said.

Yan said traffic situation had changed dramatically in recent years, with the number of registered vehicles increasing 30.8 per cent, leading to more traffic congestion and accidents. He called on the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to place more banners on roads in the capital and provincial towns to raise public awareness on the issue. Most traffic accidents happened on National Roads 4, 5, and 6, he added.

Ministry of Education spokesperson Ros Soveacha on Sunday told The Post that his ministry is working on the issue. “The ministry’s technical team is studying it,” he said.

Lim Sokchea, a senior adviser for the Alliance for Road Safety, welcomed the National Police request.

“I’m glad that such a request has been made. In the past, traffic lessons were not included in the school curriculum. It was only part of the ‘life skills’ section in the curriculum, which was just taught in additional hours for students,” she said.