The warning came yesterday, when Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Teeraphol Thipjaroen revealed that Phuket was the worst province in Southern Thailand – and second-worst in the country – for motorbike riders not wearing helmets.
Governor Chockchai levelled the stern warning at officials at his monthly meeting with high-ranking officers at Provincial Hall yesterday (Nov 29).
“All motorbike riders in Phuket should wear helmets 100 per cent of the time for their own protection,” he said.
“Government officials caught not wearing one will be punished regardless what good work the person has done for his or her office.
“If any official is found not wearing a helmet, that official’s superior will be held responsible,” he warned.
Gov Chockchai also ordered a zero-tolerance of any motorbike riders not wearing helmets when visiting government offices.
“The same applies for all government office premises. All people who come to government offices must wear helmets,” he said.
However, Gov Chockchai called for law enforcement to rely on public relations to encourage the general public to wear helmets while travelling on motorbikes.
“We prefer to rely on public relations by give them information and make them understand how important it is to wear a helmet while on Phuket roads,” concluded Gov Chockchai.
Phuket Police Commander Maj Gen Teeraphol said that Phuket was the worst province in Southern Thailand for motorbike riders not wearing helmets.
“We’re the second-worst province in the country,” he said, without clarifying which province was the worst.
“We find a lot of motorists not wearing helmets at night. However, officers not on patrol are often at traffic checkpoints and on the lookout for these people. Motorists not wearing helmets are stopped and fined on spot,” Gen Teeraphol said, explaining the Royal Thai Police version of public relations.
“The majority of this type of law-breaker are teenagers, so we have asked educational institutions to cooperate with us by educating their students on traffic law and enforcing them wearing helmets,” he added.
Meanwhile, Chalong Police have been praised on Facebook for one of their officers making two Thai female high-school students run laps around their motorbikes instead of fining them for not wearing helmets.
The praise follows Facebook user Lek Sparrow posting a video of the incident when the students were caught not wearing helmets on Chao Fa East Rd near Chalong Circle.
“Lek” said that he admired the officer for not fining the girls, but instead disciplining them and lecturing them on the importance of wearing helmets.
The Chalong Police officer in the video reportedly later said, “These are children and they have no money to pay a fine, so we have to teach them like our own and guide them in the right direction so they will grow up to be good citizens who obey the law.”
Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub