Minister gets tough on illegal modification of vehicles by mechanics

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Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol (above) on Tuesday warned mechanic garage owners to stop modifying vehicles against technical and legal standards. Agence Kampuchea Presse

Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol on Tuesday warned mechanics workshops throughout the country to stop modifying vehicles against technical and legal standards, or face shutdown.

Chanthol said modified vehicles were known to have caused accidents and affected road safety. He said authorities will start taking tough action against offenders this year.

His warning came as he wrapped up a meeting on the results of road safety measures during the first 10 months of this year.

Also, he urged the Phnom Penh Municipal Administration to cooperate with the Department of Public Works and Transport throughout the country to inspect all mechanics workshops by year’s end.

“By 2020, all vehicle repairing and modifying garages must acquire a legal permit. Now, we are considering shutting all [illegal] vehicle repairing and modifying garages.

“We don’t want to receive any more reports about mechanical garages continuing to exist or being illegally operated,” he said.

Moeng Youleng, the director of the Kandal provincial Department of Public Works and Transport, said his working group has been complying with the minister’s instructions and will continue to inspect and act against unauthorised mechanic workshops.

Youleng said joint authorities had so far clamped down on nearly 90 per cent of unauthorised mechanic garages in the province. He said further investigation was being carried out in a bid to eliminate all unauthorised garages.

“We have cooperated with specialists to crack down on illegal garages because unauthorised vehicle modification is known to have caused traffic accidents.

“Trucks that are modified to load more goods than legally allowed have also damaged roads, so we have to take action continuously.”

Sek Chhuon, the owner of a vehicle repairing garage of the same name in Koh Kong province’s Khemarak Phoumin city, said he supported the ministry’s measures in cracking down on unauthorised garage businesses.

He urged the authorities to act in a transparent manner and on an equitable basis.

“My garage has already been registered. I support the minister’s action against illegal garages that offer to modify vehicles against technical standards because it is unsafe and can cause traffic accidents,” he said.

Kim Panha, the director of Asia Injury Prevention (AIP) Foundation, welcomed the move.

“We have to act because illegally modified vehicles are more likely to cause road accidents and be a danger to other motorists. They also damage roads if they are overloaded.

“Chanthol’s warning should not come as a surprise. If there are unauthorised vehicle modifying garages, the owners must be punished according to law.

“If garage owners fail to obtain the necessary permits, they must be punished too because it is required by law,” he said.

According to a report released by the National Road Safety Committee, there are a total of 3,556 vehicle repairing and modifying garages, of which 2,795 have a permit while the other 761 are operating illegally.

Of the 3,556 garages, 3,281 offer repairing services and only 2,541 of them have permits. The other 275 garages provide vehicle modifying services and only 254 are legal.

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