In the near future, irresponsible livestock owners who allow their animals to freely roam public streets could face punishments of fines – or even imprisonment – if they endanger public lives, said a senior official from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
Ministry secretary of state Min Manavy was speaking at a traffic law education campaign in Pursat province on March 22.
“The amendment to the law has been drafted and is now being revised, ahead submission to the Cabinet for approval. It will then go on to the National Assembly,” she said.
In late March 2020, two people were killed and six others were injured in a road accident in Dang Peng commune’s Ta Thong village of Koh Kong province’s Sre Ambel district. Police who investigated the accident ascertained that it was caused by cattle wandering into the street. The owner of the cows has not come forward and accepted responsibility.
Manavy added that another important part of the proposed amendment dealt with dangerously modified vehicles. It paved the way for the ministry to set standards that would apply to all modifications, although the law did not mandate penalties.
She said road accidents were still a major challenge – with some drivers unaware of traffic laws, and some knowingly violating them.
People continued to refuse to wear helmets, sped or drove under the influence of alcohol, she said, adding that it appeared some members of the public did not respect the spirit of the road rules at all, but merely avoided traffic police when they saw them.
“The department in charge of the ministry consulted with the National Police deputy chief when revising the sub-decree. We discussed the removal of fines from a driving license, irregular lane changes and unsupervised livestock causing accidents as serious issues,” she added.
A 57-year-old famer Saing Touch in Mkak commune of Kandal province’s Ang Snuol district told The Post that he currently has 7 cattle, including five cows. Due to the expense, he has not made a stable for them, and he often releases them to graze in the fields and forests at the foot of the mountains in the afternoon.
“I do not have enough time to feed them, so I let them out to graze,” he said.
In his village, there is no heavy traffic, but he feared that his cattle would get into the fields of other villages and eat their crops. If this happened, he would be liable for the damage.
“Last year, a plantation owner tied up three of my cattle, claiming that they had eaten more than 20 newly planted saplings and demanding that I pay 500,000 riel in compensation. I paid him, but my animals have never caused any road accidents,” he said.
Touch supported fines for the owners of livestock that allowed their animals to endanger the public.
Manavy called on authorities to cooperate in educating the public and enforcing the law. She singled out the drivers of passenger trucks and goods trucks, and motorcyclists for particular attention.