The northern province of Chiang Mai is set to launch a smart CCTV system designed to catch motorcyclists and pillion riders not wearing crash helmets, to reduce road casualties involving motorcycles.
The system was jointly developed by the Safer Roads Foundation and the Provincial Traffic Accident Prevention Planning Office. For the initial stage, the system has been installed at 16 locations in Chiang Mai and another 8 other districts.
Dr. Thiravuth Komutbutr, an expert attached to the Provincial Traffic Accident Prevention Planning Office, said today that there are about one million motorcycles in Chiang Mai, of which 600,000-700,000 are in Chiang Mai city.
He disclosed that 70% of the road accidents involving motorcycles occur at night, when fewer people on motorcycles wear crash helmets because the roads are quiet. About 80% of the deaths involving motorcycles are caused by head injuries.
The five districts were chosen as part of the pilot project because of the high number of fatalities involving motorcyclists and pillion riders.
Pol Lt-Col Supachai Chanthra, deputy superintendent of traffic police, admitted that a campaign to encourage people on motorcycles to wear crash helmets has not been successful. He hopes that the new system will help change their habits.
Tasanee Silpabutr, representative of the Safer Roads Foundation, said that more than 20,000 people die from road accidents in Thailand each year, many times more than deaths caused by COVID-19.
With the new system being operational before the New Year festival, she expects fewer deaths involving motorcycles.
The 13-million baht project is funded by the Safer Roads Foundation.
New Tough Motorcycle License Tests
Thailand’s Transport Department has issued new criteria for big bike riders, saying riders must now bring medical certificates when applying for a driving license.
Yongyut Nakdaeng, deputy director-general of the department, said on Wednesday the ministerial regulation on the application, issuance and renewal of driving licenses requires big bike riders to have more training and tests.
Medical certificates for driving license application and renewal must prove that the driver does not have congenital diseases or symptoms that medical professionals deem unsafe for riding.
The department would work with the Medical Council of Thailand to define the diseases or symptoms that big bike riders must prove they don’t have, Mr Yongyut said.
Apart from the prohibited diseases in the old regulation, new prohibited diseases which are being considered are epilepsy, diabetes, high-blood pressure, bipolar disorder, autism and a height of less than 90 centimeters.