Of the total number of road accidents recorded between 2008-2015 by the Royal Thai Police, 80% were speeding related. In 2015 alone, a total of 809,341 arrests were made for breaking the speed limit, though the figure is set to break a million this year, a seminar on Thursday (Dec 14)was told.
Commander of Phuket Provincial Police Teeraphol Thipjaroen said since the Thai Roads Foundation began providing police with modern equipment to catch speeding drivers, the number of accidents and traffic violations had halved.
“Modern speed cameras support police work as they can record speed and licence plates and electronically transmit this information to the municipality to process,” Gen Teeraphol said.
“The damage and loss of life annually costs the country around 3% of our GDP, or around B420 billion,” he added.
The mobile speed cameras used in Phuket cost B970,000 apiece. Their capabilities supersede other cameras bought by governments in the past 20 years as they can detect speeding motorcyclists.
Commander of the Special Branch Police 3, Eakkarak Limsanggas, said Thailand has around 200,000 kilometres of roads nationwide and only 1,000 traffic officers which hampers the country’s efforts to enforce road safety.
“We are seeing stricter laws, such as driving with no licence leading to a prison sentence of up to three months, from one month previously. Weak penalties have led to a number of drivers being willing to take the risk of being arrested,” Maj Gen Eakkarak said.
“Around 50% of people who use cars in Thailand drive over the speed limit, with a total of B280 million in fines last year. Of the fines, 50% goes to each municipality, 2.5% on administration fees and the rest is rewarded to the police. We can adjust this structure to help pay for new equipment,” he added.
Gen Eakkarak said using more technology to make arrests will reduce corruption and bribery as identifying speeding vehicles and printing tickets leaves no room for police and offenders to meet.
Director of the Trauma Centre and Critical Care Centre, WHO Collaborating Centre for Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion Dr Wittaya Chatbunchachai said solving Thailand’s road safety problems requires both the acquisition of new technologies to support enforcement efforts, while improving police capabilities to serve traffic law offenders with legal documents.
“Statistics continue to show only 4% of people who violate traffic laws pay their fines, and only 20% of them are given tickets due to constraints on resources. This must not be overlooked if we are going to buy more equipment,” Dr Wittaya said.
Head of the Thailand Accident Research Centre Kunnawee Kanitpong said, “Countries such as the UK where road safety standards are very high simultaneously use at least two types of speed detecting systems in each designated area to ensure vehicles remain under the speed limit at all times. They also have very large fines with a minimum of £100 (B4,400) and a maximum of £1,000 (B44,000) for violations.”
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