Postbag: Drive out road deaths
published : 11 Dec 2014 at 06:20
newspaper section: News
I fully agree with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha that it’s always been the driver’s duty to not drive under the influence of alcohol, but most of the 300 traffic deaths that occur each New Year and Songkran are related to drink driving. We have the second highest road fatality rate in the world and must make the roads safer.
Since there will be no ban on alcohol sales and breathalysers are in short supply, the police should form flying squads to check drivers during the holiday season, by having them blow into balloons.
Squads of deputies could be under the direct supervision of policemen, and could issue tickets for drink driving if the policeman in charge judged it warranted. Any objecting driver would be taken to the nearest breathalyser, and if he was indeed over the limit, his fine would be doubled (with a receipt). Squads would be self-financing, with receipt proceeds divided between squad members and their affiliated police station.
Since Gen Prayut personally decided not to ban alcohol sales during the holidays — and didn’t order any steps to reduce the historical fatality rate from repeating itself — he should insist on being held accountable and personally attending the funeral rites for each drink driving-related death during the holiday season.
Young and corrupt
UN Development Programme analyst Khwanpadh Suddhi-Dhamakit says that most people in Thailand think of politicians, police and civil servants rather than themselves when considering corruption.
The latest UNDP survey revealed 68.1% of Thai university students admitted they were corrupt (BP, Dec 9). By the very nature of the survey one would expect that many more students who were willing to participate in corruption did not admit it in the survey.
Thailand is thoroughly corrupt and this survey reveals the extreme difficulty of eliminating the problem through the current “reform” proposals. Having students recite their civic duties in class is not going to cut it. On the contrary, radical changes are necessary.
Held over a barrel
Worldwide oil prices have plummeted over the last few months to a level not seen for a long time. Can anyone explain why our fuel prices at the pump remain so high? Someone is pocketing large sums and it is not the consumer.
Free market economies now enjoy much lower fuel prices, but not us. Needless to say that if the change in the crude oil price was in the other direction, prices at the pump would increase extremely rapidly.
Thank you Thai oil cartel members. Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha is looking for free gifts for New Year, so a substantial reduction at the pump would be a good start, no?
But maybe the government should stay away from designing energy policies, since its track record on rice, rubber and other commodities has not been successful, to say the least.
Weather gods warning
A word of caution to the weather forecasters of Asia.
After Typhoon Haiyan last year and Typhoon Hagupit this year, and knowing the superstitious nature of the Asian people, I suggest when next year’s typhoon season arrives, do not give it a name starting with “Ha”.
The weather gods have already struck twice, (Ha and Ha) so don’t give them a shot at Ha, Ha, Ha. I don’t mean for this to be a joke, but if you believe in karma, have a think about it.
A lesson from Korea
The daughter of the Korean Airlines chairman admitted her selfish behaviour “caused social issues” and resigned from all her positions (BP, Dec 10).
Sadly, I cannot see such a person in Thailand taking similar action. It would more likely be a case of: “Do you know who I am?” His or her actions would go unpunished and not have such consequences.
Get Poirot on the case
What the Koh Tao murder investigation really needs is help from Agatha Christie’s famous Belgian detective hero, Hercule Poirot. He is good at exposing the real criminals, and bungling police as well.
David James Wong
CONTACT: BANGKOK POST BUILDING
136 Na Ranong Road Klong Toey, Bangkok 10110
Fax: +02 6164000 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
All letter writers must provide full name and address.
All published correspondence is subject to editing at our discretion.