In an interview with NBT World’s Thailand Today program, Arkhom Termpittayapaisit said the law would be strictly enforced and legal action taken against drivers who break traffic rules. It comes after the 2017 New Year holiday period saw the highest road death toll in the 10 years records have been kept.
The minister said an immediate measure would be to keep highways and roads in top condition for motorists, and that motorists during the festival would be advised to observe the speed limit. The speed limit in Thailand is generally 120 km per hour on motorways or expressways, 90 km per hour on highways and 60 km per hour on suburban streets.
Meanwhile there would be strict control measures for public transport vehicles, in particular intercity buses and vans and micro-buses. If any vehicle is found to be in less than top condition it may be banned from the road for a period of time.
Thai law officials over the 2016 and 2017 New Year holiday periods used the measure of temporarily seizing the driving license and vehicle of anyone caught driving drunk, as part of efforts to reduce road accidents and deaths over these breaks.
The same measure was also used during the 2016 Songkran holiday period, when authorities seized 6,613 motorcycles, cars and pickups due to drunk driving.
“Another initiative aimed at curbing road accidents involved showing drunk drivers the consequences of their actions. After the 2016 Songkran, groups of arrested drunk drivers were taken to visit morgues in several provinces and also to witness first-hand the suffering of injury victims, as well as hear stories from prison inmates locked up for driving offences”, says a spokesman for BSA Law, a leading international law firm in Thailand.
For over 30 years BSA Law has provided a range of legal and financial services to the Thai and foreign communities in Thailand. Its areas of expertise include Thai law in general, Thai labour law, corporate law, contracts, property, intellectual property, tax consulting, accounting and auditing, insurance, investment, Thailand work permit and visa matters and how to go about starting a business in Thailand.
Alcohol consumption remains a major cause of road casualties in Thailand, and speeding. During 11 and 17 April 2016 – the so-called ‘seven dangerous days’ of the holiday break – there were up to 3,447 road accidents across Thailand, with some 442 deaths and 3,656 injuries recorded. Statistics showed that drunk driving accounted for 34 per cent of accidents and speeding for 33 per cent.
The ‘seven deadly days’ of the 2016 New Year holiday period claimed 380 road deaths and over 3,000 injuries. The stats blamed drunk driving for 24 per cent and speeding for just over 17 per cent of accidents.
The seven day period in the most recent New Year holiday – 29 December 2016 to 4 January 2017 – saw 478 people killed and 4,128 injured in 3,919 accidents, making it the highest death toll in 10 years. Drunk driving was blamed for 36.6 per cent of accidents, followed by speeding for 31.31 per cent.
Suthee Makboon, chairman of the centre for the prevention and reduction of road accidents under the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, said lessons would be taken from the increased New Year death toll to mete out measures which would be carried out before this coming Songkran.
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