New passenger van rules brought in following a fatal accident, resulting the the deaths of 25 people in January, 2017 are being challenged by van operators.
In fact Thailand’s van owners have given Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha an ultimatum.
Relax the new laws on passenger safety or they will cease operations on Friday.
The Association of Interprovincial Van Business petitioned the government stating that operators could not afford to meet the new stricter regulations.
New laws demand that all passengers must use seat belts and limit seating within the vehicles, with violators facing fines.
Drivers argue that they carry signs in their vehicles warning passengers to wear seat belts but they cannot enforce this law and believe that the passenger must bear the responsibility of whether or not they buckle up.
Operators also want seats to remain at fifteen and not the proposed limitation of thirteen.
Another point of debate is the installation of GPS tracking systems, which again operators are against. Their argument is based on the fact that traffic congestion prevents them from speeding.
However, most of us have witnessed speeding vehicles of all makes and sizes on Thailand’s roads.
Chief of the Kanchanaburi Land Transport Office Yutthana Anantadechochai argues that the devices are required to keep track of driver’s hours and behaviour, not just speed.
He continued to say that GPS would cost operators around 6000 baht per vehicle but 75% of passengers vans have already fitted the system. Operators have until March 31st to comply.
In many countries, seat belt violations are the responsibility of the passenger, if over the age of 16 or 18. This would make sense in this instance.
Would a reduction of seats help with passenger safety? It is doubtful.
GPS is a must. If it helps reduce speeding and track the hours that drivers are working, then it can only enhance passenger safety.
But many people will throw in driver training into the loop. If drivers are given proper training and education on road safety, this would go a long way to reducing accidents involving public transport vehicles.