Opinion – How many more lives have to be lost before govt. implements measures to curtail reckless driving?

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Over the weekend social media was buzzing with yet another accident, this time a pedestrian was hit by a driveaway motorcycle, while he was trying to cross the zebra crossing and this zebra crossing had traffic signals to stop vehicles for the pedestrian to be able to cross.

The video shows that the pedestrian waited for the zebra crossing’s light to turn green (meaning the pedestrian could cross, while the vehicles had to stop), before he opted to cross. He managed to cross the street on one side but as soon as he stepped on to the 2nd road to cross, an oncoming motorcycle did not stop on the red light and slammed the vehicle on to the pedestrian.

Thankfully, as per reports, the pedestrian only had a broken leg, while the motorcycle driver had a broken arm.

But this time the pedestrian was lucky, unlike the high-profile case in January 2022 when police lance corporal Norawich Buadok, slammed his big bike into ophthalmologist – Dr. Waraluck Supawatjariyakul. Dr. Waraluck was not so lucky, and she lost her life at the young age of 33.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) was all gung-ho after the accident of Dr. Waraluck (nickname – Krattai or Rabbit in English) to a point that many of the zebra crossings around Bangkok were called Krattia crossing, including the ones right next to the BMA’s main office around the Democracy Monument area.

But being enthusiastic and having ‘Krattai’ or ‘Zebra’ crossings, with some having red lights is not the solution that Bangkok or even Thailand needs, instead it is the need to implement these rules that come out each day and are lost a month, 2 months or no later than 3-months after they are put in place.

I for one pass though the BMA’s headquarters each day going to work and that very ‘Kratai’ crossing that has RED light smack right next to the BMA headquarter, witness that when the lights are red, the ‘supreme leaders of Bangkok’s Road’ – Motorcycles, never stop at these red lights for the pedestrian crossing.

Advertising for the launch of the Kratai (Zebra) crossing

Even at the Democracy Monument, every day I personally honk at these motorcycles who break the redlight even while pedestrians are crossing. Sometimes the 4-wheeled vehicles follow suit because after all if the motorcycles can do it then why not the 4-wheeled.

If the BMA says that its cameras are not working, then I would beg to differ. The cameras always works when they have to prosecute the 3-finger salute or the establishment protestors but when it comes to prosecuting those breaking the law every day, these cameras don’t work. Come on give me a break.

The BMA/Democracy Monument is not the only area, another area is the Surasak/Sathorn intersection. Smack right in-front of the Honda showroom is a police booth, and guess what if one drives from Thonburi side into Sathorn, there is a clear sign that says ‘No Right Turn’ at that intersection for those coming from Thonburi or those coming from under the expressway from Silom side. These days the entire right lane is now for ‘RIGHT Turn’ on a ‘No Right Turn’ area and the Yannawa Police station that allowed illegal gambling dens to operate within 500 meters from that junction does nothing to fine those who break the law.

These days literally nobody obeys the traffic rules. Cars and motorcycles alike break traffic rules day in day out and as per data that I have more than 80% of the traffic fines are not paid by those breaking the rules. There is no punitive damage to any of those people who do not pay up.

Not only are the traffic fines not paying the fine system is outdated. A speeding ticket for driving at 110 kilometers per hour in a 60 km/hour zone is a mere 500 Baht. In any other country a 50 km/hour over speed limit would have fines 10 times more than what the Thai police implements.

Then there is the bigger question of whether one should pay the fine or not, whether the fines are linked to the registration system or not. Although the government says it is linked, but then if it is linked then why is the pay up ratio less than 20% of all the fines imposed?

And the bigger question is how many traffic police officers does Bangkok or even Thailand have? I don’t see the traffic police prowling around the city looking for people breaking traffic rules and imposing fines on them. If they are not working then why does the country have these inefficient people on the pay role? Or are they only there to ‘facilitate’ some people when they travel, for it is only at that time that we witness all the possible traffic police on the roads, apart from that they must be in hibernation.

Well, these are the questions only the government of Srettha Thavisin and/or Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt can help answer, but until they answer and get their acts together accidents that could be life threatening and or lethal will continue to happen.

As the saying goes among pedestrians, if one is crossing the road one better have a good amulet that protects the pedestrian for in this country the pedestrians are among the lowest of the low in the motoring world’s pecking order.


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