Firstly, as you will see from The Phuket News report (click here), it is clear that the GPS law being rolled out will not apply to all minivans on Phuket’s roads, or to those used to provide visa runs.
Amazingly, and for reasons known only by lawmakers, vans that are registered as private vehicles are exempt from the crackdown, meaning only vehicles registered as commercial passenger vehicles will be required to install GPS.
To clarify, private passenger vans are issued licence plates with blue writing on a white background, while commercial passenger vehicles are fitted with yellow plates with black writing.
Next time you’re on the road, see how many vans you see with the different plates, you will then be able to see roughly what percentage of minivans are affected by this crackdown.
Secondly, according to officials, there are already more than 4,600 vans and more than 1,000 buses in Phuket that already have GPS installed. But has this seen any reduction in the number of vans and buses from Phuket involved in accidents?
Finally, and probably most importantly, the GPS units fitted in the crackdown-aﬀected vans and buses can be used to regulate the driver’s speed.
However, again amazingly, and for reasons known only by lawmakers, this option is self-regulated.
Again, to clarify, the GPS can be used as an alarm when a driver is driving faster than the speed set in the system. However, that system can be set at the desired speed either by the driver or his employer. Are we really to believe that these speeds will be set by what “normal” road users here in Phuket see as a safe speed?
Yes, it is great news that the issue of the safety of minivans is finally being looked at.
However, what they seem to miss is the fact that it is not in fact the vans themselves that cause these accidents, but the people behind the wheel.
Surely a more simple and beneficial way to stop these accidents would be to install a speed limiter. And not only to vehicles registered as commercial passenger vehicles, but all vehicles that are responsible or carrying any member of the general public.