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Highway carnage shows ‘national attitude adjustment’ needed

NATIONWIDE: A poor Thai attitude was the real cause of the high number of road fatalities over Songkran, said Don’t Drive Drink Foundation secretary-general Tairjing Siriphanich.

By Bangkok Post

Thursday 21 April 2016, 10:19AM

Tairjing Siriphanich, head of the Don’t Drive Drink Foundation, says there is a need for a national attitude adjustment. Photo: Bangkok Post file photo

Tairjing Siriphanich, head of the Don’t Drive Drink Foundation, says there is a need for a national attitude adjustment. Photo: Bangkok Post file photo

He rejected the theory posed by some pundits that lower petrol prices and more cars on the road caused the spike in the road toll.

Despite tougher measures taken by the military and police, such as confiscating vehicles from motorists found to be drink-driving, the death toll from this year’s Songkran festival, from April 11 to 17, was 442 compared with 364 over the same period last year.

More accidents were also reported this year, 3,447 compared with 3,373 last year.

Some commentators say the larger number of cars and a recent drop in petrol prices were the main contributing factors but Dr Tairjing disagreed.

“Thai people do not take interest in accident issues... they usually relate the issue with fate or karma,” he said.

He added: “If people care then we have a better chance at fighting this problem.”

The Ministry of Public Health said the road toll figures, collected from April 11 to 19, which includes traffic coming back late from the holiday, showed 504 people died in road accidents during the period.

There were also 28,241 injuries resulting in about 200 people becoming handicapped. The estimated cost to treat motorists involved in Songkran accidents stands at more than B1.4 billion, according to the permanent secretary for public health Sopon Mekthon.

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The Interior Ministry said alcohol is still the No. 1 cause of accidents followed by speeding.

Figures from the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation listed alcohol as being the cause of 40 per cent of the accidents, driving over the speed limit 24%, and careless driving 16%.

The top three types of vehicles involved were motorbikes at just more than 80%, pick up trucks 10% and sedans/taxis 4%.

More than 30% of motorbike drivers didn’t wear helmets, which contributed to the high death toll.

Chiang Mai recorded the highest number of accidents at 164, Nakhon Ratchasima came second at 128, and Udon Thani third at 111.

Dr Tairjing suggested authorities campaign year-round for safer driving rather than launching an intensive campaign covering the “seven dangerous days” of Songkran, which appears not to work.

He also said authorities needed new ways to tackle the problem because he had seen little change over the past 10 years.

Read original story here.



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Kurt | 22 April 2016 - 10:18:25

Well, as Dr Tairjing explained, it is all 'just' thainess.
"Thai people do not take interest in accident issues".
"They usually just relate the issue with fate or karma".

And he said: " If people care than we have a better chance at fighting this problem".
Well, that is exactly the point, most Thai people don't care.

Perhaps that 'relating'...

Christy Sweet | 22 April 2016 - 08:16:31

Start with small laws, it worked in New York city, called "The Broken Windows Theory."  When property owners were forced to repair broken windows on abandoned buildings, it set up a domino effect of wiping out crime, starting with the drug users. When citizens see small laws aren't enforced, like maintaining a property, helmet or traffic rules, they break bigger laws. Law enforcement...

Christy Sweet | 22 April 2016 - 08:11:05

You are dealing with a fatalist culture. Everything that happens, Somchai driving too fast in his concrete truck and crushing a car was meant to happen. It's all rooted in eons of a ruling elite's doctrine the masses cannot change anything,(conveniently using religion to spread the mantra.) I can't foresee future governments wanting to change this status quo.  

Richard Vickers | 21 April 2016 - 21:08:19

Wow... finally a Thai official that makes sense. Dr Tairjing is 100% correct that these one week blast campaigns are a waste of time and change nothing.  Just look, I thought I read that no speeding tickets were issued over the 7 days of danger, although almost 25% of accidents were caused by speeding.  That is because there is no law enforcement. Without a doubt, Hotgem and Malc are right...the p...

Jome | 21 April 2016 - 18:45:23

Great...national attitude adjustment required....the only way to save this country....

Hotgem | 21 April 2016 - 17:08:48

It must be a "obey the law" campaign. It must be a top down attitude from the officials in charge. All this all year long. Anything else will not work.  

malczx7r | 21 April 2016 - 12:40:33

Yes they need new ways to tackle the problem, they need to sack the police force and employ new officers who will actually enforce the law every day, not just when they have a crackdown!

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