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Deputy PM Suthep “rides on’ in Phuket



PHUKET: Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban in Phuket yesterday praised the island-wide helmet crackdown on motorbike drivers and passengers.

“The project is historic. Phuket is the first province to run such a campaign and I hope this regulation continues to be enforced for people’s safety,” Mr Suthep said.

The deputy PM promised to launch similar campaigns elsewhere in Thailand.

A huge crowd with about 3,000 motorbikes gathered at Sanaam Chai field in Phuket Town to see Mr Suthep speak at a public event promoting the helmet campaign.

“Thailand has 12,000 road-accident deaths a year – that’s number two in the world,” he said.

He added that the dire statistic had an impact on the national economy, costing the country in the range of 230 billion baht a year.

Also speaking at the event, Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha said, “More than 200 people have died in road accidents in Phuket each year over the past five years. Motorbikes were involved in about 80 per cent of the accidents and most of the victims were not wearing helmets.

“In response, the Phuket Provincial Police Office launched its helmet campaign in March last year, and so far the death toll on our roads has halved,” he added.

After the formalities, Gov Tri took Deputy PM Suthep for a short ride on the back of a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy – with both the governor and the Deputy PM wearing helmets – before a motorcade of thousands of motorcycles rode around Phuket Town to promote helmet use.

Although the Fat Boy was provided by Somneuk “Nicky” Pornkaew, Gov Tri does own a Harley Dyna FXR 1340cc.

— Atchaa Khamlo


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