Representatives of the Victims of Drunk Driving Network and the Campaign against Dangers of Alcohol Consumption Network yesterday (Oct 10) handed a letter to the Justice Ministry to ask it to step up measures to tackle drink driving.
Deputy permanent secretary for justice Thawatchai Thaikhiew, who accepted the letter, said he agreed with calls for tougher laws against drink drivers.
Relatives of victims killed in drink driving-related accidents, including a four-year girl who succumbed to injuries in a road accident in Rayong last month, also went to the ministry.
Jessada Yaemsabai, leader of the networks, said the networks support a government policy, adopted at an Oct 4 cabinet meeting, aimed at preventing road accidents, including cases relating to drink driving.
The networks have also called for traffic laws to be amended so drink driving causing death is on par with an act of premeditated murder, rather than an act of recklessness.
Meanwhile, those in the same vehicle as the offending driver should also be punished, the suggested amendment says.
He added that pubs, bars and other places that sell alcohol to those who cause road accidents should also be held responsible.
The networks have also supported an idea to set up a traffic court to enforce stricter compliance with traffic laws, Mr Jessada said.
The suggestion is among several proposals in a study on traffic problems conducted by the Thailand Research Fund.
Figures show an average of 72 road accidents are caused by drink driving each month, he said.
More than 26,000 people are killed in road accidents each year – 35 per cent-40 per cent of whom die at the hands of drink drivers – while more than B200 billion worth of damage is caused by motoring collisions every year.
On Sept 27, 42 year-old Ruengnam Pornpong drove a pickup truck at high speed and crashed into seven vehicles – two pickups, two cars, and two motorcycles – which were waiting to make a U-turn at an intersection with traffic lights in front of a fruit market in Rayong’s Muang district.
Three people were injured, including Phakjira Tabngam, a 4-year-old girl, who was thrown off a motorcycle she was riding with her mother.
The girl suffered serious injuries to her head and was later pronounced dead at a hospital on Sept 28.
Police charged Mr Ruengnam, the pickup driver, with carelessness causing deaths and injuries.
The deputy permanent secretary for justice said he agrees with a proposal to amend the laws to mete out harsher punishment to drink drivers.
He said a drink driving case is equivalent to attempted murder in some European countries.
Mr Thawatchai added the Justice Ministry will work with state agencies to push for the amendments.
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