Spy network to tackle road safety
PHUKET: A new road safety campaign aims to recruit volunteers from government departments, schools, factories, transport operators, private companies and even villages – a large proportion of the island’s population – to look out for and report violations of traffic laws. The scheme was launched last week by the newly-formed Phuket Land Transport Security Center (PLTSC) under instructions from the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor). The aim of the scheme, when fully implemented, will be to see school principals, tuk-tuk drivers, company bosses, village headmen and others within the community, government and the private sector monitoring their colleagues, subordinates or neighbors, and reporting traffic offenses to the police. Five categories of business or organization were identified by the PLTSC as being expected to contribute to the government’s eyes and ears: government offices and departments, including hospitals; academic institutions; private companies; the transport industry, including tuk-tuk, songtaew and motorcycle taxi operations; and local communities, including villages, residential estates and open-air markets. Among more specific proposals is one for a new checkpoint – closer to Sarasin Bridge than the existing Tah Chat Chai police checkpoint – to catch motorists speeding either from or to the mainland. Places of learning must set aside specific “safe” areas for children to be dropped off or collected from school. School or college principals, in addition to keeping an eye on the roadcraft of their staff, are also expected to monitor the behavior of parents and students on the road. Similarly, staff at government offices and departments will monitor each other, with the chief of any department having authority to sack staff who breach road rules habitually, in addition to any penalty meted out under the law. Dangerous driving through villages will be monitored and reported on by local headmen while security guards posted at the entrances of residential estates on the island will be expected to report similar infringements to the police. Vehicle rental companies will be expected to check the credentials and skills of would-be customers more thoroughly than at present. Transport providers, including minibus operators, motorcycle taxi drivers and vehicle rental companies are to be given training in Thai traffic regulations, the only group for whom any training is prescribed in the plan.
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