Officers told to get tough on road safety
Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob ordered officials to get tough on road safety violations following a tragic accident which claimed 11 lives in Sa Kaeo province on Sunday.
"It is time to take serious actions against any offender," said the minister. "Penalties include the suspension of a public van company's permit, and the revocation of the violator's driver licence."
While the accident involved a public van -- which Mr Saksayam has been trying to keep on the road despite a regulation passed by the previous government that mandated the decommissioning of vans older than 10 years -- the minister was adamant the accident does not warrant the removal of older vans from the roads.
"Initial investigations show the driver dozed off and veered of the road," he said. "GPS data from the van showed the driver remained within the speed limit."
Mr Saksayam said 72% of accidents involving vans are caused by poor road conditions, before adding that 2.9% of public van accidents were caused by the condition of the van.
That said, he admitted authorities have not done enough to ensure vans and other public vehicles are in a safe working condition.
"I have ordered officials to carry out more inspections to ensure passenger safety," he said.
The minister's order came after a passenger van crashed head on into a 18-wheeled lorry at 4.10am on Sunday in front of Wang Sombun district office.
Eleven people -- five men and six women -- were killed. Among the deceased is the driver of the van, identified as Sansern Jirathongkhan.
The van, which bore a Bangkok registration plate, was almost completely destroyed, and the lorry's bonnet severely damaged. Its driver, along with four injured Lao nationals, are being treated at Wang Sombun Hospital.