NCPO targets drink drivers over holidays
Authorities will strictly enforce measures to prevent traffic accidents during the New Year holidays.
National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) spokesman Col Winthai Suvaree said Tuesday checkpoints and public service points will be set up along main roads nationwide starting this Friday.
Officials will be deployed to help drivers as well as to provide safety and security in a bid to reduce road accidents and fatalities.
Col Winthai said the Peace and Order Maintaining Force will work closely with police and relevant officials and also members of the public to boost road safety during the long holidays.
He said stringent measures will also be implemented against drink drivers, particularly those who drive motorcycles and public transport vehicles.
If anyone is found under the influence of alcohol, authorities could confiscate their vehicles. For drivers of public transport vehicles, their driving licences will also be suspended.
Meanwhile, speaking at Government House, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the government was working on measures to urge public transport operators to be more responsible for passengers if accidents and fatalities occur.
Gen Prayut said operators had to order their drivers not to get behind the wheel if they have been drinking.
Drivers had to be held responsible for their acts and concerned about their passengers while authorities would help facilitate traffic in order to reduce fatal accidents, he said.
Passengers also have a role in being vigilant. If drivers seem to be sleepy or under the influence of alcohol, passengers should suggest they rest or remain off the road, Gen Prayut said.
Gen Prayut added the government was currently working to devise measures to install safety equipment in both old and new vehicles in a bid to reduce the possibility of accidents.
Vehicles approved by the Department of Land Transport must also be fully installed with safety equipment.
For public transport vehicles, operators also have to install safety equipment.
Operators have to make passenger safety their first priority, and not only think of their own benefit, added Gen Prayut.
Bundit Sornpaisarn, director of the Major Risk Factors Control Section at the Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth), said 36.2 people per 100,000 were killed on roads by drink drivers in 2012. This rate was only surpassed by war-torn Libya, where 73.4 people per 100,000 died the same year.
According to ThaiHealth, in the past five New Year holiday periods, there were a total of 15,973 road accidents, with 16,916 people injured and 1,768 killed, most of them motorcycle drivers.
Meanwhile, Surasit Silapangam, of the Don't Drive Drunk Foundation, urged the prime minister to invoke Section 44 of the interim charter to imprison drink drivers to curb fatalities.
Mr Surasit said the measure would also ensure justice for anyone who violates the law.
He also proposed replacing a report on the death toll during the seven days with a press briefing on the arrest of drink drivers to encourage people to refrain from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.