The “100% Wear a Helmet” campaign was intensified by Phuket Police with an event at Region 8 Police headquarters in Tha Chatchai aimed at increasing public awareness. The event was held on Monday in an attempt to push everyone in Phuket to wear motorbike helmets when driving, with helmets being handed out to students and motorbike taxi drivers as part of the event.
Phuket Province has one of the lowest helmet-wearing rates in Thailand.
Handing out helmets is actually one strategy police plan to employ as part of enacting a more strict response to bare-headed drivers. After paying for a ticket for not wearing a helmet, drivers and passengers will not be allowed to drive off without wearing one.
Police will give the offender a loaner helmet for them to wear so they can drive away, but they will be required to return the helmet within one week. They intend to give warnings to start but will have a slowly increasing fine for those caught without a helmet.
In February and March, police will hand out 200 baht tickets and, in April and May, the fine will increase to 300 baht. After June 1, all violators will be charged 500 baht, the actual maximum fine under Thai law.
The campaign kickoff was attended by police representatives from the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office, Phuket Land Transport Office, Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation, Office of Insurance Commission, Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, and the Thalang District Office. The Region 8 Police Commander hosted the event and spoke of the importance of wearing a helmet, albeit with some confusing statistics.
Provincial Police Region 8 covers a jurisdiction of 7 provinces in Southern Thailand, above the Deep South region: Chumphon, Krabi, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phang Nga, Phuket, Ranong and Surat Thani. The Police Commander said a lack of a helmet creates the most severe injuries and deaths out of the 60 accidents averaged each month in the region.
While injuries and deaths are down from last year, the Thai Road Safety Commission recorded 13,494 deaths and 869,539 injuries on the roads of Thailand. (Last year saw 15,746 deaths and 1,014,306 injuries.)
The Region 8 Police have set a goal of reducing deaths and injuries on the road by 50% by 2030 as part of the Stockholm Declaration, a global initiative to increase road safety around the world.
SOURCE: The Phuket News