On a highway to nowhere

It was like a jubilee of sorts; a kind fitting New Year. Did we see a faces of a immature group who went to collect their motorbikes? They were all over a Thai media final Tuesday, a initial day they could get their vehicles after being nabbed for splash pushing over a holiday break.

Some arrived on a backs of motorcycles driven by friends, shouting and jostling any other. They grinned and mugged for a cameras. Some gave high-fives, others gave a thumbs-up.

One arrived in a behind of a pickup lorry along with another 6 friends. While there were no wine bottles in sight, it was transparent a guys had been adult to something for a integrate of hours that morning that done them red-faced, invigorated and loud.

One immature male sauntered into a hire afterwards sauntered out a few mins after usually to have a brief review with his friends. They all chipped in some money, and a male sauntered behind inside with his clod of cash. A crony in need is a crony indeed.

Afterwards, once a bikes were retrieved, a integrate of feat signs were flashed during a media, nonetheless feat for what stays an critical question. One male kissed a petrol tank of his motorbike. That evoked a lot of laughter. Another acted for a cameras flashing a assent pointer and a grin, while his mom and father stood not distant away, smiling too as their brood became a centre of media attention, despite quickly and substantially for a initial time in his life. He’d be a toast of his village, for sure, for creation it onto TV.

It is a small formidable to fathom a judicious course of an detain for pushing underneath a influence, afterwards a carnival-like indirect stage outward military stations opposite a nation where before inebriated motorcyclists were reunited with their weapons of choice.

Speaking of judicious progressions, what is going on with a Thailand highway toll? Figures are drifting in a face of logic, for reasons approach over my mental capacities. That leaves me feeling a small on corner and twitchy, not a good demeanour in these early days of 2016.

Thailand’s sharpening genocide fee has been a unchanging subject in this column. Perhaps it is given I’ve worked closely with one distinguished Thai journalist, Krissana Lalai, who is a untiring champion of drink-driving laws. He is Thailand’s watchdog for accessibility, or “universal design” as he calls it, definition a ability for a wheelchair and a infirm to go everywhere people on dual entirely functioning legs can go.

His other box is drink-driving. Krissana sits in a wheelchair, a outcome of a weird highway collision 15 years ago during a tallness of his journalistic fame, that resulted in an agonising six-month stay in sanatorium as he came to terms with his new life as a paraplegic.

Road fee statistics are as high as they are rough in this country, though as recently as Oct final year a World Health Organisation was claiming Thailand had a second-deadliest roads in a world, with a small underneath 40 people on normal failing on Thai roads per day. The 2015 Global Status Report Of Road Safety placed Thailand only underneath Libya. Another universe consult put us during No 2, only underneath Namibia. Either nation doesn’t make us demeanour good.

Krissana and we have discussed this before, though we both pinpoint a ubiquitous change in notice towards a highway fee some 5 to 7 years ago. It was afterwards Thai authorities started to make inroads towards curbing it.

One can be asocial and contend a change was a outcome of a realization that some-more income could be performed from tighter highway order enforcement. Even if this is true, we will get no criticism from me. If a military can fill their coffers from fines ensuing from speeding tickets and roadside exhale tests, afterwards good for them. May they get abounding on it — anything to stop 40 people failing per day and an army of exceedingly maimed.

New measures to quell a highway fee over a past 5 years have been considerable or, during worst, a good start. There were restrictions on ethanol sales. Roadside breathalysers were enforced.

There were stepped-up media campaigns to teach drivers that celebration and pushing did not mix. Billboards went adult featuring cinema of unequaled children seeking where their daddy was (dead, interjection to an accident) and a many common of all, a design of a present of a wine bottle with a now-popular saying: “Giving ethanol is same to impiety somebody.”

The biggest change came before this New Year period, dubbed “The Seven Days of Death” by a government, given it publicly marks on a daily basement how many people die and get maimed in how many accidents. For a initial time, a primary apportion used his sinister Section 44 order (which gives him a energy to do positively anything brief of branch we into a frog) to concede any dipsomaniac motorist to have his automobile confiscated by a military on a spot.

This led to a sum of 4,672 seizures, a infancy being motorcycles belonging to group underneath a age of 20. (There were a integrate of important exceptions; in Udon Thani a inebriated ice-cream businessman had his ice-cream lorry seized. One wonders if he had any rum and raisin in his stash?)

In total, some-more than 28,000 motorcyclists and 10,000 automobile drivers were arrested for splash pushing over a 11 days from Christmas Day until Jan 4. That’s a lot, right?

Awareness campaigns … ethanol sale restrictions … roadside breathalysers … seizing vehicles … mass arrests … what outcome has it all had on a Thai highway toll?

With a difference of one weird year, a genocide fee has usually increasing over a past 5 years. This year alone, a highway fee rose 11% when compared with final year with 380 passed and 3,505 injured.

Where is a judicious course in that?

There was positively no good news when a total were expelled final Tuesday, other than a softly congratulatory divide for a 4 provinces (Trang, Phrae, Ranong and Sukhothai) where nobody died on a roads. Congratulatory? Look during it a other approach around — 73 out of 77 provinces suffered highway fatalities.

Despite how we might sound in this mainstay from time to time, we am a male who takes good comfort in judicious progressions. Clampdowns on ethanol sales, pointless breathalysers and despotic measures such as seizing vehicles contingency meant a highway fee should go down. But it didn’t. It went up. Dramatically.

So a some-more we moment down, a worse a highway fee gets?

Perhaps a answer could be found final Tuesday in a media footage of a immature group who fronted adult to military stations around a country, 3,000 baht in hand, to collect their vehicles.

I don’t know about you, though if we had to go collect my automobile after being nabbed for drink-driving, I’d do it wearing a complicated jacket, dim eyeglasses and a wig. There would be no feat travel for me. And nonetheless that’s what all those group were doing, flashing assent signs and feat signs as they did a purported travel of shame. It was sanook.

Nobody was hurting, and indeed we are in a weird conditions where a people who need to harm a many have mislaid zero — other than 3,000 baht. If anything, they have gained profitable information, such as that roads not to span a subsequent time they get off their faces. And because shouldn’t there be a subsequent time?

Article source: http://www.bangkokpost.com/lifestyle/social-and-lifestyle/821044/on-the-road-to-nowhere

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