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MAIL OPINION  By Shana Kongmun


Songkran traffic accidents, again

As I write this we are in the middle of the 7 deadly days of Songkran, due to deadline issues we won’t have the totals for this year until after we go to print but do I honestly think the numbers will be vastly improved over last year’s rather appalling numbers? No, honestly I do not believe the numbers will change a whole lot despite the promises made to crack down on drunk driving and enforce traffic laws again this year.
If I recall correctly something like 80% of all accident deaths are motorbike involved and most of those due to drunk driving or speeding. A lot of those are not wearing helmets. Establishing no drinking zones, while certainly helpful in town is not actually going to affect the number of deaths since most of them occur on the main highways and roads after revelers get drunk and drive home.
There don’t appear to be statistics on what time of day most fatal accidents occur but given how things go over Songkran it is pretty easy to guess what times those would be. Other countries have huge holiday periods and of course a lot of people drink during those holidays, but their fatal traffic accident tolls don’t seem to reach the numbers that Thailand’s does. Are the police actually stopping every vehicle out at night and checking the drivers? In addition to issuing fatality numbers it would be interesting if the police also issued the numbers of arrests for drunk driving and dangerous driving during the 7 dangerous days of Songkran. I would suspect that as those numbers rose, the fatality numbers would drop correspondingly but since those numbers don’t seem to be released then there is no evidence.
I would be interested to hear from readers who live outside the city how many police checkpoints they encountered, if they were brave enough to go out at night that is. It would be interesting to know how late these checkpoints are manned and if each checkpoint has a Breathalyzer. It would be good to know how many arrests each checkpoint made and how many accidents occurred near those checkpoints.
It seems to me that if the police had this information at hand they would see who and where policing is effective and implement real measures in the police force to make sure that the laws are enforced and lives are saved.

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Songkran traffic accidents, again