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,
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