Re: “Bus driver gets four-year jail term over passenger deaths”, The Nation, November 14.
The driver of a tour bus that crashed in Nakhon Ratchasima this past March, killing 18 people, has been sent to jail for four years, with his driving licence revoked permanently.
His employer, Gun Eng Tours, has been charged for allowing him to drive while under the influence of drugs. But the employer and his company should be held accountable for far more than that: the driver has a history of drug-related offences, and shouldn’t have been hired in the first place. The driver alleges that his bus’ brakes failed on a down slope. The company is responsible for care of its vehicles. Why haven’t the police lodged criminal and civil charges against the company and its owner for these offences?
PM Prayut said “we can’t enforce a lot of [traffic] laws because that would burden citizens”. It’s attitudes like his that make our roads the world’s second deadliest: what’s more important than saving lives? Enforce laws on a sustained basis, not just until the media moves on. Ensure that all drivers achieve and maintain defensive driving habits via, for example, mandatory refresher tests, especially for motorcycles and commercial vehicles, and that commercial vehicles pass stringent mechanical inspections.