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Alcohol test not standard for drivers in serious Phuket accidents

PHUKET: Tha Chatchai Police today confirmed that they do not test drivers involved in serious accidents for alcohol or other substances as standard procedure.

By The Phuket News

Wednesday 9 May 2018, 10:48AM

A bottle of Hong Thong Thai whiskey was found in the cab of the pickup truck at the scene. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

A bottle of Hong Thong Thai whiskey was found in the cab of the pickup truck at the scene. Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

Instead, they decide whether or not the person is alert and sober enough to have been operating the vehicle.

The news came today (May 9) as Capt Akkara Sivilai of the Tha Chatchai Police confirmed to The Phuket News that Nitthaya Keawkwan, 24, was not charged for drunk driving as she was not tested.

Ms Nitthaya was driving on Thepkrasattri Rd in Mai Khao at 2:50am last Sunday morning (May 6) when her pickup truck flew across the median strip and slammed head-on into a tour bus travelling in the opposite direction. (See story here.)

A bottle of Hong Thong Thai whiskey was found in the cab of her pickup truck and officers at the scene reported that her behaviour had indicated that she was drunk, and that she was to be tested for alcohol at Tha Chatchai Police Station.

However, that did not happen, Capt Akkara confirmed to The Phuket News this morning.

“I don’t know why the report appeared in this way. I did not take her to have the alcohol test at the police station. She did not seem like she was drunk,” Capt Akkara said.

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“Ms Nitthaya was not drunk when I met her at the scene. She told me that she was driving northbound to take her friend home when she dozed off. That is why her pickup truck crossed the road and caused the accident,” he said.

Regardless, Ms Nitthaya has been charged with reckless driving causing damage to property and other persons, Capt Akkara confirmed.

Capt Akkara also confirmed that Ms Nitthaya’s friend who was a passenger in the pickup truck at the time of the accident, did not suffer serious injury.

The friend was rushed to hospital before police arrived at the scene.

“Straight after investigating the scene, we went to the hospital to see her friend. She suffered scratches only,” Capt Akkara confirmed.



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Fascinated | 09 May 2018 - 14:03:21

Most competent police forces test all drivers at the scene of an 'accident'as a routine. Oh hang on, I have spotted the flaw in that sentence. How does he know if she wasn't drunk if she wasn't tested? 

I guess the decision as to whether or not the person is 'alert and sober enough to have been operating the vehicle' depends on the offer made at the time. A budding detec...

CaptainJack69 | 09 May 2018 - 12:19:17

Didn't seem drunk?

Well most Thai people don't "seem" insane, until you put them in charge of a motorized vehicle.

It's interesting to see police officially confirming what has often appeared to be the case. Blood alcohol tests should be mandatory in ALL traffic collisions regardless of how the driver "seems".

Kurt | 09 May 2018 - 12:03:07

Why no standard alcohol & drug test for dozed people who cause a accident 
Can not leave this up to a Police Captain
This lady was not alert as she dozed off. Alcohol? yes/no? Whisky in the car. Time of the day. Enough to test
Officers at scene thought she was drunk
Captain at station thought she was not drunk. 
A 'structural' police mess, with room for 'understanding'

Asterix | 09 May 2018 - 11:21:28

Drunkards will be happy to learn that drivers in Phuket will not be tested automatically for alcohol or drug in case of road accident to check if they have more than 0.05mg alcohol.

The law stipulates that all drunk drivers with more than 0.05mg alcohol will lose the right to claim insurance cover for both their vehicle and other vehicles involved in an accident and must pay all expenses.

BenPendejo | 09 May 2018 - 11:10:21

Incredible incompetence and lack of common sense.  So Capt. Akkara has a built-in drunk-o-meter that allows him to determine sobriety just by looking.  This is the kind of nonsense that lets everyone know that drinking and driving is not a huge concern, as it is in every other western society. There really is no disincentive to not get get behind the wheel after drinking all day/night.

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