Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol led a team which discovered 32 heavy trucks travelling over the 40-tonne limit in Kampong Cham province on November 16, the same day the ministry said it would increase its vigilance against offending truck drivers and delivery companies.
The trucks were delivering goods such as rice, cassava, animal feed, mangoes and rubber and were found to be 10 tonnes overweight.
“The companies, enterprises and owners of heavy trucks have to cooperate and take this law seriously. It is to avoid damage to the roads and reduce traffic accidents,” he said.
Ek Rath, the transport ministry’s undersecretary of state, confirmed on November 18 that the law permits heavy trucks to weigh a maximum of 40 tonnes while delivering goods, including the weight of both the truck and its cargo.
Chanthol ordered the 32 truck drivers driving over the weight limit to remove 10 tonnes of goods each by having another truck retrieve them.
Rath added that the road traffic law states truck drivers are fined based on how much extra cargo they are shipping. If the total weight is five to 10 per cent over the 40-tonne limit, the fine is 100,000 riel, from 10 per cent to 20 per cent 200,000 riel, over 20 per cent is 300,000 riel, while driving licence and truck has to be detained for a year.
The 40-tonne limit applies to vehicles with at least five axles, per the law.
“The ministry released measures a long time ago, but it understood [not to fine drivers seriously]. When they are fined, they still don’t regret [their actions]. Some people are not afraid even after they have been fined,” said Rath.
Institute for Road Safety director Kong Ratanak said that drivers continue to break the law because the ministry’s announcements had a limited effect and law enforcement is lacking as well.
Despite the ministry releasing announcements forbidding drivers from driving over the limit, installing weight scales and stopping offending drivers, the illegal practice continued, Ratanak said.
“Truck overloading seems to not decrease. I personally see that the effectiveness of respecting legal standards cannot be practised. We should find the root cause of the problem and why truck drivers do not respect the law,” he said.
Ratanak said it could either be corrupt officials not enforcing the law properly or simply that drivers don’t respect the law.
According to a ministry report, during the first nine months of 2020, officers worked in collaboration with local authorities and checked more than 1.5 million heavy trucks.
They found that 415,917 of the trucks were overweight, equal to 26.96 per cent of all such vehicles in Cambodia.