By Shana Kongmun
If there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s the traffic
It would seem it’s not just me, but
everyone is talking about how bad the traffic is this past month. Not just
gridlock due to festivals, although they add to it, and not just long
holiday weekends although they add to it as well. It is something more and
something that I think can be easily pinned down to one government policy;
the 100,000 baht rebate for first time buyers of new cars. Sure, it
stimulated the economy. It was a huge boon for the car dealers and the
finance companies. Lots of people bought new cars and now they are filling
the city streets. Many of these first time buyers seem to be unaware of
traffic rules or courtesy.
This policy has, in my opinion, turned our town into a gridlocked nightmare
within a very short period of time. A nightmare that the police, the streets
and the municipality are unable to cope with. If this kind of traffic is on
the cards permanently then something needs to be done and done rather
First of all, there needs to be some training in traffic flow for the local
traffic police. There are actually experts out there who study traffic and
how it moves and have determined the best possible means to keeping traffic
flowing. I can tell you, leaving the light green on Nimmanhaemin for 10
minutes is not one of those techniques.
Secondly, the city is going to need to start regulating streets, determining
which is best one way, which is best two way and studying traffic flows.
Cleaning streets at night when the traffic is low, not during the day, for
instance, would be a huge boon.
Finally, the police must begin enforcing no parking zones, they must begin
enforcing traffic laws. The laws aren’t there just to ruin everyone’s fun
but they are there for safety and for efficiency.
The Land Transportation Department should consider mandatory driver training
for everyone applying for and renewing a driver’s license. Driver training
by qualified teachers who know the laws, that is. Not just driving around
I realize these all seem to be rather simple and obvious fixes. Often it is
the most obvious fix that is the one that works. However it requires will to
get it done. The will of the police to learn, to enforce, the will of the
city to change the way the streets are used and the will of the people to
adapt and adopt safety conscious courteous driving.
Is it impossible? I don’t think so. But, it does require a lot of education.
Classes in driver education and safety are something the schools might want
to consider implementing around the age of 10 since we all know this is
about the age many kids learn how to drive. Get them young and maybe we can
start to see some changes.