By Shana Kongmun
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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