Deadliest roads: Junta’s response to national disgrace is window dressing 

your say April 21, 2018 01:00

The junta is moving four police commanders to Bangkok as punishment for presiding over areas that suffered the highest per capita road fatalities during the just-ended Songkran period.



This move is highly unsatisfactory for a number of reasons. First, the problem has many aspects, not just cop negligence. Second, the punishment focuses on fatalities over just seven days out of 365. Third, it is unfair to those punished and thus is probably good just for short-term public relations.

There are many reasons why Thailand has the deadliest roads in the world: roads are poorly designed, punishment is not strong enough to punish or deter, cops are open to bribes, etc. Focusing only on seven days’ casualties takes none of the above into account.

Far better would be to make compulsory completion of rigorous driver’s education courses, with a one-year learner’s licence period, and passing rigorous refresher courses and tests. Enforce road safety laws like the wearing of helmets, carrying of driving licences, making way for emergency vehicles, stopping for stop signs. Make punishments much more robust: driving under the influence to be punishable by mandatory jail plus a heavy fine; speeding punishable by a mandatory five-year licence suspension, and driving without a licence punishable by five-year suspension plus jail. Evaluate top cops on their year-round performance, not just over seven days.

Get serious about saving our lives, and stop window dressing to cover up a national disgrace, please.

Burin Kantabutra

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