The event, held on Monday (Dec 27), was presided over by Region 8 Police Commander Lt Gen Amphol Buarabphon.
Also present were senior police commanders from across the island as well as senior local officials and representatives from the Thalang District Office, Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (PPAO, or OrBorJor), Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation (DDPM), Office of Insurance Commission, Phuket Land Transport Office (PLTO) and the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO).
Also present to receive helmets handed out at the event were motorbike taxi drivers and students.
“Road accidents cause a lot of damage to lives and property,” Lt Gen Amphol said. “The government pays attention to this problem. The expected goal is to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from road accidents by 50% by 2030.
“Thailand is currently ranked as the ninth deadliest country in the world for road accidents, with 22,491 deaths [period not explained], accounting for 34% of the population per 100,000 people.
“In the Provincial Police Region 8 area [comprising the seven provinces of Upper Southern Thailand], there were an average of 60 deaths from road accidents per month, and the severity of most accidents comes from not wearing helmets,” Lt Gen Amphol said.
According to the Thai Road Safety Commission (ThaiRSC), Thailand has recorded 13,494 deaths and 869,539 injured in road accidents so far this year.
Last year, ThaiRSC recorded 15,746 deaths and more than a million people (1,014,306) injured in road accidents throughout the country.
Region 8 Police Deputy Commander Maj Gen Wimon Phitakburapha explained that the government was now pushing ahead with its attempt to reduce deaths and serious injuries from road accidents by 50% by the 2030.
“Road accidents kill many Thais,” he said. “The government has made road safety a national agenda in which all sectors must work together to drive towards the goal effectively.
“The Road Safety Center has integrated all sectors to take action for prevention and reduction of road accidents seriously, and continuously at all levels under the national plan and global framework at the 3rd World Conference on Road Safety in Sweden.
“Thailand has been aware of the goal to reduce road accident deaths by at least 50% between 2020 and 2030 under the Stockholm Declaration, according to the policy of the government and all sectors including the Royal Thai Police, Provincial Police Region 8,” he said.
Maj Gen Wimon explained that police were introducing tougher measures under the new campaign in order to have people riding motorbikes wear helmets.
“To solve the problem of road accidents in the area, Provincial Police Region 8 has launched this campaign, which is a strong measure for law enforcement. If the driver or passenger does not wear a helmet, that person who is arrested will not be allowed to drive or continue to ride a motorcycle by not wearing a helmet even if the fine has been paid until driver or passenger can get the helmet,” he said.
The campaign was initially launched on Dec 13, with Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Sermphan Sirikong presiding over a launch event in Phuket Town while Lt Gen Amphol presided over a similar launch event in Patong.
The campaign came into force on Dec 13, with officers giving warnings, Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Lt Col Sathit Nurit explained at the event in Phuket Town.
“A helmet will be given to the offender, and the offender must return the helmet to police within seven days,” Lt Col Sathit said.
But later motorbike drivers will be charged for not wearing a helmet, and they will be charged if their passengers are not wearing a helmet, he explained.
“From Feb 1 to Mar 31 offenders will be fined B200 for each time they are caught. From April 1 to May 31 next year offenders will be fined B300, and from June 1, 2022 onwards offenders will be fined at the highest rate required by law [B500],” Lt Col Sathit said.
Of note, as police across the island ramp up their helmet campaign, the seven-day period of “intensive” efforts by police to reduce road accidents for the New Year holidays, traditionally called the “Seven Days of Danger”, began at midnight last night (00:01am Dec 29).