Sunday, November 17, 2019

Land Transport Department asleep at the wheel

Jan 02. 2017
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Last Thursday a tour-bus driver abandoned his passengers in Kamphaeng Phet. Transport Co deputy president Nopparat Karunyawanich explained that the driver was tired from working several days without a break.

The Land Transport Department found that the bus had not undergone the required annual vehicle examination and had no GPS tracking device.

No, the driver shouldn’t have left his passengers by the side of the road. But the bigger culprit was the Land Transport Department and its director-general for letting the situation deteriorate to this point. The department should now be given, say, 60 days to ensure that all vehicles under its care have been properly examined – including passing California-level emissions tests and equipment requirements – and that an industry-wide plan has been rigorously implemented to ensure that all drivers are getting adequate rest. Drivers who watch videos, drink or engage in other distractions while driving should be dismissed immediately.

After the 60 days is up, an independent agency should evaluate the department’s performance, using clear, transparent, measurable performance indicators related to safety, speed and convenience for road users, with department executives rewarded or punished accordingly.

We should be tired of having the world’s second-deadliest roads and not doing anything effective about it.

Burin Kantabutra

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