The following is our exclusive weekly feature in which we ask our readers a news topical question and then give you a week to answer it on our various channels, compiling a diverse range of answers and opinions to present to you, our valued readers. Here are the results from our last question…
Here is what you, our readers, had to say as our editors selected some of the most diverse responses to highlight different points of view. Obviously, we can’t post everyone’s opinion here so we selected a variety of the most varied opinions. As always, the opinions and statements below are the reader’s own and may not reflect those of TPN media. There have been minor edits for spelling and grammar only:
Richard A-In my well over 45 years of driving in Thailand I have seen all kinds of disasters and doubt if it will ever improve. There just isn’t any proper training or enforcement of rules and laws.
Johan H-Drunk driving, do they get anything back from insurance companies? Make the drivers (if they survive), pay thru the nose. There need to be much harsher consequences, the RTP and the justice system are not of any help.
Titus R-Well, that’s not easy to do in a short time. But if the police become really active against all excessive motorcycle and car drivers, against all those who turn their motorcycles and scooters into hell machines, against red light sinners, against one-way street drivers and safety line violations as well as against those who believe if they drive on sidewalks, without number plates and drive without lights be a trivial offense. The problems are so diverse that they will probably not be solved in 20 years, but the government should increase the police force, pay them well and give them strict guidelines to finally put an end to this unpleasant and unfortunately daily massacre on the streets. Offenders would have to be recorded in a database. After repeated offenses, confiscate the vehicle and order a psychological aptitude test!
Graham-In response to your request from readers who have been living here in Pattaya for 12 years I can only say that nothing has changed in regard to deaths on the road.
Itemized are the main causes/ preventive measures necessary:-
aa) Speed cameras linked to a database of vehicle registrations that contains details of the vehicle, owner, insurance, tax, and test dates. Speeding ( the cause of most accidents ) can then easily identify and process speeding fines AND points on licenses!
bb) Better warning signs indicating “City Speed limits” ie ” You are entering a City Speed Limit “. Those who ignore deserve the penalties
cc) Better traffic policing
dd) Insurance !!! Whilst the driving test has been revamped and is considerably better than previously, nothing has changed regarding vehicle insurance.
It is widely known that obtaining the pretty worthless and next-to-nothing insurance is handed out at DLT test centers like candy without any proper checks on the owner/driver or the vehicle.
Unless the insurance aspect is handed to the private sector nothing will change and inexperienced or unsuitable persons will continue to be able to pick up the minimum insurance with their “modified” Isuzu pickups ( lowered suspension, wide wheels sticking out past the bodywork, go faster noisy exhausts etc.)
Vehicle modifications are not allowed in Europe unless the vehicle is inspected by the Insurance company, approved by the government transport authority, AND will bring a hefty increase in premium.
Insurance with the private sector will of course mean substantial increases in line with the risks but having private companies inspect vehicles and do background checks on owner/drivers before issuing insurance would cut the carnage overnight.
If you can afford the money to buy a vehicle then you need to be able to drive it and pay the upkeep and expenses involved.
I would reiterate that “Insurance” is the key to cutting road deaths, and accidents and improved road safety.
David N-I have lived and driven in many different countries and I feel Thailand has some of the worst drivers in the world. There is a need to have drivers more educated and also they need to respect all the rules of the road. I can’t drive 1 km from my house without witnessing a number of traffic infractions As an example 1. Not wearing a helmet 2. Not having a License plate and most likely no insurance 3. Riding a motorcycle with no lights at night 4. Driving the opposite way on the street 5. Reckless operation of a vehicle 6. Not paying attention to construction signs especially to slow down 7. Letting underage drivers operate a vehicle 8 Not operating your vehicle according to road conditions. A typical excuse is The accident was not my fault because it was raining and the road was wet. The list can go on and on. Not only better-educating drivers there needs to be more of a police presence so when people break the rules they need to be issued tickets. Not just police targeting foreigners because they have money. Police should be suspended if they take money from an individual that has broken the law. Unless change comes from the top then nothing will change. Maybe if police start impounding vehicles for none payment of tickets people might change their driving habits. A lot of Thai drivers feel they can do whatever they want and this attitude has to change
My suggestion is not intended to end the carnage on Thai roads. but to reduce it. Variously, Thailand has been reported to have the highest rate of motorcycle fatalities in the world. Head injuries are the leading cause of death for drivers and passengers involved in motorcycle accidents. Motorcycle helmets can reduce fatalities by nearly 40%. Less than 50% of motorbike drivers in Thailand wear helmets whereas only about 20% of passengers do. About 8% of children wear helmets.
In Vietnam, where motorcycles are even more prevalent than in Thailand, one 2020 study reported in Ho Chi Minh City that well over 90% of drivers wore helmets in that city.
The question then is how to get more motorbike drivers and their passengers to wear helmets. One solution that worked for an unrelated problem in Latin America is to develop a social norm, similar to the norm in Vietnam, in which wearing helmets is the common procedure.
There are a couple of ways this could be accomplished. In Latin America, the problem being attacked was that families were producing too many children, leading to increased poverty. The government wanted families to use birth control but the strong Catholic prohibitions made that difficult. Soap operas, and telenovelas, are popular in LA, as they are in Thailand. What producers of the telenovelas did was leave suggestions that characters in the shows would be using birth control before having sexual relations. Similar modeling of helmet use in Thailand during soap opera presentations would suggest that this was normal behavior.
Additionally, the government could develop an advertising campaign suggesting that the social norm in Thailand was to wear helmets. Therefore, riders choosing not to wear helmets would be seen as behaving anti-socially.
Can the modeling of norms work in Thailand? Think about how many Thais have been wearing masks and continue to wear masks (even without the government restrictions). Mask-wearing has become a social norm in Thailand.
Max I-Awareness campaigns followed by enforcement. I remember the resistance years back in the States when the mandatory seatbelt law passed. Some of the more rural states opted not to enforce it. It wasn’t until the threat of not distributing federal Highway funds came into effect that was there grudging nationwide compliance. What I’m saying is that it’s a lengthy process. After putting penalties in effect, whether it’s seat belts, helmets, or driving while intoxicated there has to be brisk enforcement. I’d say it’s a 20-year project.
How can there be an ending or a solution to a problem that’s only ever talked about?
Nothing will ever change until the powers to actually make it happen.
Tara R-Won’t happen, but Thais are happy to wear the same useless cloth mask that they haven’t washed in weeks while driving alone, drunk, the wrong way, too fast, and no helmet with no lights.
Drivers must stop being selfish and must start acknowledging they’re not the only ones on the roads.
Jimmy S-Changing the motorway speed from 120 to 100 will probably cause more accidents. Going to be a lot of aggravated people, I am going Thursday and usually do most of the trip at 120, this is going to make it a lot tougher to get there
Robert U-It would take years of active enforcement and education for anything to start changing.
Robert B-Teach the people how to drive properly, make sure they all have lessons and get a driving license
Andre L-Compulsory helmet for everyone, government-funded if necessary, and proper education license
David A-There is no quick fix. Have to educate kids and couple it with consistent enforcement and safer roads. Having said that they could at least halve it very quickly if there was a real desire.
Didn’t get a chance to chime in? Tell us on our social media channels, in the comments below, or if you prefer your comment to be private mail us at Pattayanewseditor@gmail.com. Have a safe week and see you soon!
The Pattaya News is your number one source for Real, Unbiased, Impactful and In the moment breaking news based in Pattaya, Thailand. Our news focuses on the latest news in and around Pattaya, Thailand and Southeast Asia. We also own and operate TPNnational.com