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Phuket Opinion: The buses aren’t the issue

PHUKET: Last Wednesday’s (Mar 21) fatal bus crash in Nakhon Ratchasima which killed 18 and left more than 30 injured has led Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to instruct the Transport Ministry to ensure the public’s safety and find long-term solutions for reducing bus crashes.

By The Phuket News

Sunday 1 April 2018, 09:00AM

The bus crash in Nakhon Ratchasima resulted in the deaths of 18 passengers, including three children, with the driver blaming brake failure for the disaster. Photo: Prasit Tangprasert

The bus crash in Nakhon Ratchasima resulted in the deaths of 18 passengers, including three children, with the driver blaming brake failure for the disaster. Photo: Prasit Tangprasert

Surprisingly, Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith is now considering issuing a complete ban on such vehicles from operating on long-distance routes.

However, Mr Arkhom should surely be aware that on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week there were two serious accidents in Phuket’s neighbouring Phang Nga province, that while not causing as many casualties that in Nakhon Ratchasima, still resulted in deaths and injuries. (See story here.)

What’s the difference between these accidents?

The accidents in Phang Nga involved minivans and not double-decker buses.

Perhaps one positive that came from the disastrous Nakhon Ratchasima crash was that accident investigators managed to find and reveal that the driver had been driving the vehicle at around 80km/h in a 60km/h zone. Not to mention that he was also allegedly high on methamphetamine (ya bah) when the bus crashed into a concrete pillar.


Being the Transport Minister, surely Mr Arkhom should be aware of all fatal public vehicle accidents that occur across the country. If not, then this simply has to change. Why? Because then Mr Arkhom would realise that to put his focus on a specific type of bus is not going to achieve anything when it comes to ensuring public safety and finding long-term solutions as Gen Prayut instructed.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to compare these accidents and work out that the specific type of bus involved, and even the speed at which the crashes occurred, are irrelevant. What is relevant is that these accidents all occurred due to driver error of some kind. So why not put the focus on the people who drive the buses?

It is clear from the Nakhon Ratchasima accident that the driver totally disregarded the GPS that was installed in his vehicle. It is highly likely that many other bus drivers do the same. It is also likely that Krissana was high on drugs when he was responsible for the safety of dozens of people. It is also highly possible that other bus drivers do the same.

As long as Mr Arkhom and his officials believe that vehicles and not drivers are the main cause of these accidents then the safety of the public can never be ensured.



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anon | 02 April 2018 - 17:09:41

The issue isnt the bus and its not safety, its more scary than that. Its part of the culture specifically a commonly accepted belief that our actions are not related to our fate. Fate is predetermined so relax and enjoy life. People with this belief so no need of safety or associated precautions that are merely a hindrance in living a care-free life style. Theres no way to bring about a quik chang

malczx7r | 01 April 2018 - 10:51:18

Amazing, even the PN newspaper can see the problem (and probably have the solution) yet "highly intelligent" officials fail to see it, maybe because they don't want the drivers of busses to lose face if it's pointed out how stupid they are!

Discover Thainess | 01 April 2018 - 10:36:39

Excellent article and of course completely true, but in order for this to happen, there needs to be a change in the culture here where people can actually be held responsible for their actions, as opposed to blaming the road, the brakes, the rain, the bus or any other excuse. Society needs to make people responsible. Not an easy change when there are no consequences for law breaking.

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