Calls for tougher punishment for drivers ignoring pedestrian crossing rules
Road safety advocates are demanding tougher punishment, including manslaughter charges, for drivers who fail to observe pedestrian crossing rules. According to a Bangkok Post report, 30 members of various road safety networks gathered at Government House to file a petition with Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon, who chairs the national committee on road safety policy and prevention.
The move is in response to the death of a female Bangkok ophthalmologist as she was using a zebra crossing on Phaya Thai Road in Bangkok last Friday. Dr Waraluck Supawatjariyakul was struck by a Ducati motorbike ridden by a 21 year old off-duty police officer, Norawich Buadok. Her death created public uproar over the ongoing dangers of attempting to use pedestrian crossings in Thailand.
According to Kruemas Srichan from the Life Quality Development Network, a Road Safety Policy Foundation study shows that around 500 people are killed every year in accidents at such crossings in Thailand. This amounts to 6% of road traffic deaths, with a third occurring in Bangkok. She says road safety advocates will be keeping a keen eye on the investigation into Dr Waraluck’s death, pointing out that drivers who violate traffic laws often end up with suspended sentences.
Her concerns are echoed by Jessada Yaemsabai from a network affiliated with the Don’t Drive Drunk Foundation, who says pedestrians have a right to be able to cross the road safely at designated crossings. He now wants the law changed so that drivers who cause the death of a pedestrian using a zebra crossing can be charged with manslaughter.
Jessada adds that current traffic laws need to be enforced strictly and quickly, with offenders given the maximum punishment. He adds that the speed limit in city areas should be reduced to a maximum of 30 kilometres an hour.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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