Vehicle Seizure For Drunk Driving Offenders Could Become A Permanent Thai Law
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Authorities in Thailand are preparing to make the seizure of drunk drivers’ vehicles a permanent Thai law, as the consumption of alcohol remained a major cause of road casualties over the recent Songkran holiday in mid April.

Between 9 and 17 April 2016, some 443,937 motorists were found to have driven while being drunk.

Over the period Thai law authorities seized 6,613 motorcycles, cars and pickups due to drunk driving, a measure that was possible through a National Council for Peace and Order initiative.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said, after the Songkran holiday period, he would ask the National Legislative Assembly to expedite the case to have the vehicle seizure measure made a permanent Thai law.

Another initiative by Thai law authorities aimed at curbing road accidents in the country involves drunk drivers being shown the consequences of their behaviour, by being taken to visit morgues. After the recent Songkran holiday, groups of drunk drivers arrested were escorted on tours to morgues in several provinces.

They were also taken to witness the suffering of injury victims, in addition to hearing stories from prison inmates locked up for driving offences.

“This initiative by the authorities displays to drunk drivers firsthand the consequences of their actions and how they can affect other people through devastating loss of live and life-changing distress”, said Apisakdi Kongkangwanchoke, spokesman for leading international law firm in Thailand BSA Law.

As well as Thai law in general, BSA Law offers a range of legal and financial services with expertise in tax consulting, accounting and auditing, Thai labour law, corporate law, contracts, property, intellectual property, insurance, investment, Thailand work permit and visas and starting a business in Thailand.

In what is known as the ‘Seven dangerous days’ of the Songkran holiday break, 11 to 17 April 2016 saw as many as 3,447 road accidents across Thailand. Some 442 people were killed and 3,656 others injured. Statistics showed drunk driving was the cause of 34 percent of accidents, while speeding accounted for 33 percent.

Overall the number of road accidents during this year’s Songkran period rose by 2 percent compared to the same period in 2015. The number of deaths rose significantly, by 21 percent.

Various agencies work together under the banner of the Road Safety Thailand Centre to prevent or minimize road accidents in the country. The centre is very active during long holiday periods like the New Year and Songkran, which is the traditional Thai New Year, when millions of Thais usually take to the road to travel.

Officials from these agencies checked 4.43 million vehicles during Songkran. Up to 730,271 motorists or passengers were charged with violating traffic laws, with common offences being not wearing crash helmets and driving without a licence.

Road deaths during the so-called seven deadly days of the 2016 New Year holiday period reached 380, with more than 3,000 others injured. Statistics showed this was an increase of 11.44 percent in deaths compared to the 2015 New Year, and that 24.03 percent of accidents were due to drunk driving and 17.28 percent due to speeding.

Not surprisingly given these figures, Thailand’s roads are among the deadliest in the world. In a 2015 study on global road safety, the World Health Organization designated Thailand the world’s second most dangerous for road deaths with 36.2 fatalities per 100,000 people. The organization said the latest official data, issued in 2012, showed annual road deaths in Thailand reached 14,059, but it noted the modeling suggested the true figure was closer to 24,000.


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