Opinion: Uphill safety battles

PHUKET: Accidents happen every day on the island – whether they are caused by drunk driving, running a red light or something else. I argue that the most serious accidents on our island occur during the rainy season on the hills in Patong, Kamala, Surin and Kata.

Maybe some of these accidents are caused by ‘slippery roads’, as is often reported, but I think the more common cause is the poor condition of the vehicles.

Patong Hill accidents almost always involve cement trucks, tour buses, 10-wheeled trucks, vans and cars. The reason is always that the brakes fail or the driver lost control.

We cannot predict when the rain will come, so we need to focus on maintaining vehicles so that they are safe and brake failures don’t happen. We should not overload the capacity of the vehicle. This goes for every single vehicle on the road.

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Accidents of this nature take away the lives of so many people. I understand that these drivers probably had no intention of driving dangerously or killing people, but these accidents all too often end in the deaths of innocent people.

Personally, I am afraid every time I drive up the hill in front of or behind large vehicles. How can people avoid these horrible accidents?

The government and authorities need to recognize that these are not normal occurrences.

Authorities need to attempt to solve this problem by taking serious action and pushing for vehicle quality checks every six months and weigh buses before they drive up the hill.

During heavy rain, when the roads are slippery, buses and trucks should not be allowed to cross the hills.

They should build a tunnel from Kathu to Patong – a project which has been discussed for so many years, but never started.

Simply, the local government and law enforcement officers need to do something to protect people’s lives.

However, people who choose to drive over the hill must be alert the entire time and concentrate on what they are doing to protect their lives and the lives of others.

We must stay safe for our families. We cannot leave them behind.

— Pruth Kulprasit


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