Friday, January 2, 2015

Thai New Year's Traffic Festival

When I was young, the radio listed the national traffic death toll on the holidays.

As a tribute to our nation's patriotism America scored the highest fatalities on the 4th of July. New Year's Eve and St. Patrick's Day were never close. These announcements were designed to warn the public about the dangers of driving drunk and thanks to draconian DMI-laws holiday tragedies have been reduced to a sad footnote.

I personally thought that passing a law to have a drunk driving hour would have been more appropriate.


Only the inebriated behind the wheel in a mad demo derby of boozers. My letter to President Bush on this matter was returned ADDRESS UNKNOWN.

Thailand on the other hand seems to revel in the idea.

New Year 2015 stretched into a five-day holiday and so far the traffic deaths for road mayhem amounted to 190 with thousands of injured swarming into the hospitals. TV warnings and police road blocks did nothing to prevent 2015 overtaking 20015 with a late push on 1/1, especially since another two days remain of the holiday.

Breathalyzers are new to Thailand and the police usually let the driver go after drinking a lot of water to lower the alcohol content in his blood. Serious offenders are arrested on the spot. This might seem a lenient policy, but there are only 114 breathalyzers for all Thailand.

This weekend it was not unusual to spot motorcycle drivers with beer bottles in their hand, which was almost as dangerous as talking on the cellphone while driving, the main cause of accidents in the 21st Century. 

Even better the other day I saw a girl texting an SMS while driving her scooter.

Go go Thailand. I can hardly wait for Songkran.

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