PHUKET TOWN: Just hours after Governor Chaedej Insawang announced that he had directed police to relax enforcement of the mandatory helmet law for passengers of motorbike taxis, (and only for passengers of motorbike taxis), local residents took to the streets in large numbers last night without headgear. A Gazette reporter posted under the clock tower at the intersection of Phuket and Phang Nga roads in Phuket Town observed that nearly eight out of ten motorbike drivers and passengers rode without helmets. Of the 60 drivers and pillion riders observed from 9:30 to 9:40 p.m., only 13, or 21 percent, wore the required headgear. Motorbike taxis passing through the intersection were excluded from the survey. The results of the sampling stand in sharp contrast to police reports received by the governor last week indicating a 95 percent compliance level following the September 15 launch of a major crackdown on scofflaws. Muang district police told the Gazette that ten motorbike accidents were recorded within their jurisdiction between 4 p.m. yesterday and 8 o’clock this morning. Injury totals were not immediately available.
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