We came upon the crash scene on the dual carriageway just outside Phnom Penh airport. A smashed and twisted motorcycle, a tuktuk on its side. On the verge a woman sat rocking back and forth in silence, while a man pumped his hands against the chest of a prone body lying in the grass, someone on the way to becoming another statistic. Traffic weaved around the wreckage, edging past the crowd of onlookers.
At least four people are killed every day on the roads of Cambodia, a country of only 14 million. We were here to launch the Call for a Decade of Action for Road Safety, at a 'Helmets for Kids' event organised by the AIP Foundation. The campaign received enthusiastic support from the education minister, the transport ministry, the national road safety committee and the police. Organisations like Handicap International and the Red Cross are here working hard on road safety, and there is much to do. Poor infrastructure, low levels of enforcement, little evidence of helmet wearing. But I'm told by those who know that people in the government are committed to improving road safety, and the Cambodian transport minister has already agreed to come to the Moscow Conference. With political engagement, strong NGO support and the example of Vietnam's helmet success across the border, Cambodia is the kind of country that could really benefit from the increased focus, attention and resourcing a Decade of Action might bring.