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MAIL OPINION  By Shana Kongmun


Bangkok police to enforce traffic violations

According to a news report form a Thai language news source the Bangkok Police have been told to crack down on 13 basic traffic violations. These include such obvious violations as; parking in a prohibited area; double parking; parking on the sidewalk; driving on the sidewalk; overtaking other vehicles in congested traffic; overtaking other vehicles in public; driving against the one way sign; running red lights; driving under the influence of alcohol; not fastening seatbelts; using mobile phone while driving; driving without a license and finally, speeding.
Perhaps I am na´ve but why do police need to be told to enforce these laws? Shouldn’t they be doing that regardless of the call for a “crackdown”?
Why does this year have to be the year of strict law enforcement? Why can’t every year be that year? Finally, why are these laws not enforced by police all over the country?
I see double parking rampant; the food market at Chang Puak gate, the fresh market at Chiang Mai Gate are two notorious locations for people who double and triple park, blocking nearly all traffic. Yet I have never seen a police officer there issuing tickets.
While driving on the sidewalk is generally specific to motorbike drivers, parking on the sidewalk is not. Often I have been forced to walk into the traffic to go around a car or truck parked on the sidewalk.
I have learned to just live with these annoyances, although some are more than that and are just completely dangerous. People regularly run red lights, God help anyone who makes the mistake of being in their way. Drunk driving is, as we know, a major problem and resulted in hundreds of accidents and 11 deaths over the New Year. Songkran is sure to see the same thing over again as people drive drunk with no fear of being caught.
I recently heard a speech by a Thai police officer extolling the discipline of Western cultures in not littering. What he didn’t know was that many years ago, people in the West DID litter. They littered all over the place. Anyone over the age of about 40 can easily remember the TV campaigns in the US of the Native American man crying over the trashing of nature. We also remember the massive fines imposed on people who were caught littering and the enforcement of those laws and those fines.
It is really as simple as that; enforce the laws, impose the fines. Make the fines hurt and make sure people realize they will be caught and they will think twice before breaking the law. A once in a while crackdown does nothing to solve the long term chronic problems, only regular enforcement and education.

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Bangkok police to enforce traffic violations