The death on March 11 of taxi driver Teerawat Phetdam underlines just how dangerous it can be for unsuspecting tourists travelling through Phuket. (See story here.)
Teerwat died after he crashed his vehicle into the back of a crane truck on the bypass road, and though his Chinese passengers were “lucky” to have escaped the same fate, the incident is yet another firm reminder that the safety of tourists on Phuket roads is not, and has not been, a priority.
Are all the officials who claim to be concerned with the well-being of tourists oblivious to the fact that most taxi, minivan and coach drivers chauffeuring tourists around are driving recklessly, fearless of the law, never mind their own demise.
Perhaps officials have simply overlooked, or underestimated, the number of accidents caused by those who are supposed to safeguard the passage of the island’s lifeblood
Surely these officials use the same roads in Phuket, particularly of Thepkrasattri Rd, the main artery to and from the airport, along which many of the reckless-driving accidents happen.
Any driver who has travelled on this route can attest to how nerve-wracking it can be to share the roads with these reckless transport operators, particularly those either going to or coming from the airport.
If the island’s policy makers and enforcers are unconvinced, surely it would take no more than a 10-minute inspection – along Chao Fa West, Chalermprakiet Ror IX or Thepkrasattri roads, near the airport turn-off.
We are confident that in that short space of time, on any given day, they’d see first-hand just how reckless these tourist chauffeurs can be, and then perhaps they might understand why more and more foreign visitors are starting to have reservations about returning to Phuket.
Or perhaps we’re just being “alarmist” and such accidents represent “just another day in paradise”, as stated by a number of The Phuket News readers commenting on these recurring news stories.
Still, unless something is done to remove the “speed demons” from our roads, and safer, dependable transport alternatives are offered, then more reckless-driving tragedies will continue to add nails to the coffin of Phuket’s already badly-tarnished safety record.