Thai PM Orders Crackdown on Drunk Driving

Crackdown on Drunk DrivingThai prime minister and junta leader Prayuth Chan-o-cha has ordered an all-out crackdown on drunk driving and instructed police nationwide to regularly set up road checkpoints and check blood alcohol level of motorists.
ThaiVisa.com quotes a deputy government spokesman as saying that Prayuth wanted
police to take drastic actions against drunk drivers without leniency.
Thailand’s ultimate strongman, a passionate cyclist himself who has instructed local administrations to build more bike lanes nationwide, issued the order after a drunk female university student on her way home from a “party” crashed her car into a group of five cyclists in Chiang Mai Sunday morning, instantly killing three of them.
The 23-year-old has been charged with reckless driving, which carries a maximum jail term of 10 years. According to the Bangkok Post, the tragedy also caused anti-alcohol groups to call for “stern action against bars that continue to serve drunk customers” and remain open after the legal closing time.

In another drink driving-related accident over the weekend, a young Thai couple and their two-year-old son were killed on the outskirts of Pattaya after drinking hard at a friend’s house and speeding in their pick-up truck just to move on to another booze-up.
But surely, these are just the two most recent tragedies caused by drunk driving that have made national headlines.
Drunk driving is the major cause of road accidents in Thailand not just over long holiday periods like the “seven dangerous days” of Songkran, which claimed 364 lives last month. And no, this is obviously not the first time either that a prime minister has instructed the police force to efficiently crack down on drunk driving.
So what? you may think.
But think again.
Prayuth isn’t just another Thai government leader but has possibly more clout and is more respected (and/or feared) than any other recent prime minister. Consequentially, the former army chief’s order stands a much higher chance to translate into action on the ground than the mere word of mouth by previous non-military governments. In any case, we wouldn’t be surprised if Thailand, including the formerly “wild East” of Pattaya, really saw more roadside checkpoints with DUI testing in the future, not just over public holiday periods. Watch out.

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