Once more a government in Thailand is trying to implement harsh punishment on “illegal” drivers to compensate for all the years of allowing untrained, undisciplined and reckless drivers onto the public highways. I hate to have to tell the officials, but a licence in this country doesn’t make for a better driver.
In countries with low accident rates and skilled drivers, it works like this: First you educate potential drivers in both theory and practice, a schooling that can take many months and incurs high costs. A comprehensive driving test is taken to ensure drivers have understood, learned and put into practice these skills. Then they are issued with proof of their driving ability in the form of a proper driving licence. To ensure people continue to adhere to those rules and regulations, there is an active police force to catch those who break the rules. In certain cases if the breach of law is serious enough, licences can be taken away for several years.
For reasons never discussed, Thailand omitted all of the above and hence suffers extremely high rates of collision, injury and death. With some 20 million licensed drivers who were never trained and have abysmal abilities, it is virtually impossible to correct this problem. Slowing them down could maybe decrease the number of deaths but, licensed or unlicensed, they will still drive badly and have collisions. Like lots of other life skills, safe driving needs expert training, something that for 50 years has been completely ignored and for which the price is now being paid.