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Thai drivers and riders have been told in no uncertain terms to start obeying the law or face more road carnage.
“Don’t just see fines as a bit of paper,” said Dr Thanapong Jinawong. “Understand why you got the fine and adjust your driving accordingly”.
Dr Thanapong was speaking to Channel 7 TV news ahead of the traditional Thai New Year celebration when the focus on the carnage on the roads always hits fever pitch.
He said that the problem was not with the roads themselves, the signage, the warnings, the lights – these were of international standards.
The problem rested with the Thai people themselves with almost 100% breaking the law in one way or another.
And only 17% even bothered to pay their fines, he claimed.
Big problems existed with people not slowing or taking appropriate care at U-turns and when there were roadside stalls or shops.
Speeding remains one of the biggest killers and people who are just not in a fit condition to drive, he said, referring specifically to those that fall asleep at the wheel – known as “lap nai” in Thai.
Dr Thanapong also isolated tailgating as a specific problem saying that it was well known that more accidents occur on straight stretches of roads than bends or rises.
He called for people to obey the laws and for the laws to be enforced.
He also called for the authorities to target the areas known as the 77 danger spots in Thailand where most of the accidents occur. These are almost entirely on inter-provincial roads.
Road blocks should be set up on these to stop speeding motorists and warn sleepy drivers to stop and rest.