AUTHORITIES HAVE promised tighter measures to ensure safer roads after a van accident in Ayutthaya killed four Japanese tourists and a Thai tour guide. The Land Transport Department (DLT) also assured that all the victims would be fully compensated.
The accident occurred on Thursday when a tourist van from Bangkok rammed into the back of a lorry on the highway to Ayutthaya at high speed and killed a total of five people.
DLT director-general Sanith Phromwong said yesterday that the department would impose stricter measures on transport vehicles to prevent a repeat of such an accident.
Sanith said the department was sorry for the loss of lives, and assured the families of the deceased that Thai authorities will punish the van driver and his company, RL Service Ltd, if they were found guilty.
DLT deputy director-general Kamol Buranapong said that the department had already revoked the licence of the van involved in the accident and ordered RL Service to turn over all their 80 passenger vans to the department for a safety inspection. All of the company’s drivers have been summoned to take a road safety course.
Kamol also said that the department will introduce stricter road safety measures, which include harder procedures to issue a new public driving licence, a specific transport route for large lorries, more resting stations for public vehicle drivers, and new requirements for all public transport companies to have a safety manager.
Kamol went to Bang Pa-in Police Station yesterday to inspect the progress of the investigation into the accident.
After inspecting the crashed van, he said that the vehicles apparently had collided at full speed and he suspected the van driver may have driven recklessly and caused the accident.
The last speed reported on the van GPS showed it was travelling at 93kph at the time of impact, and there was no sign of braking on the road.
Kamol said the van driver was experienced and there was no indication of overwork.
“I would like to express my deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and I have already ordered Ayutthaya Provincial Land Transport Office to closely monitor the investigation,” Kamol said.
Pol Colonel Kritsana Pattanacharoen, Royal Thai Police deputy spokesperson, said that police do not yet know the cause of accident and were not ready to charge anyone.
Kritsana said the driver of the van had already given police useful information, which he could not yet disclose. Police also collected blood samples from the van driver to check for alcohol or narcotics.
“We will ensure that the investigation in this case will be transparent and we will disclose all information once the investigation is finished,” he said.
Manit Srithong, the lawyer for RL Service Ltd, said the company was sorry for the accident and assured that the victims’ families will get the full compensation as per their insurance standard. He also said the van had passed all requirements of the DLT.
It was reported that the families of all deceased Japanese tourists would get a total compensation of Bt2.2 million.
Officials of the Embassy of Japan, and relatives of deceased Thai guide Piyathip Krungtai went to the Institute of Forensic Science at Thammasat University Hospital yesterday to receive the bodies of the victims.
It was reported that the bodies of the four Japanese victims would be transported back to Japan, while Piyathip’s body will be delivered to her home in Nakhon Phanom province for a funeral ceremony.