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Anti- Drunk-Driving Group Offers Victims Free Legal Assistance

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An anti-drunk-driving advocacy group has launched a centre to provide victims of drunk drivers legal assistance and advice. The center will help victims dealing with irresponsible and dishonest drivers.

The centre for helping drunk-driving victims will be open around the clock. Those affected by a drunk-driver can seek advice and free legal assistance. Dr. Thaejing Siripanit, secretary-general of the Don’t Drive Drunk Foundation announced at a press briefing Thursday.

The centre has volunteer lawyers to help victims cope with legal hassles and tactics they may encounter.

“From my experience in campaigning against drink-driving, many people are out there driving drunk. Despite laws prohibiting drink-driving they continue to drive” he said.

In many cases, victims of these irresponsible drivers ended up being victimized. Especially when the drivers exploits legal loopholes to avoid prosecution. And also not paying compensation to victims, he said.

Drunk Drivers Using Loopholes

These include avoiding a blood alcohol test; intentionally delaying legal prosecution until the statute of limitations expires; and offering victims some money along with the threat. Saying if they want more than that they will have to take their case to court, he said.

Other tactics used by lawyers representing drunk drivers included luring victims into signing a blank consent forms; lobbying to make a drunk-driving incident a contributory negligence accident; to avoid paying victims compensation and offering to pay compensation to victims in installments; which the driver subsequently failed to pay, he said.

The Department of Medical Sciences (DMS) said blood samples from drunk-drivers will arrive at its laboratories across the country within four hours. A window which still ensures accuracy in results of blood alcohol tests.

According to the Bangkok Post, the department has laboratories offering the Headspace gas chromatography test. The results are normally available in two days in centres such as Nonthaburi,; Chiang Mai; Khon Kaen; Nakhon Ratchasima; Ubon Ratchathani and Songkhla, said Opas Kankawinphong, director-general of the DMS.

Army to Set Up Drunk Driving Check Points

Meanwhile, The Royal Thai Army, announced plans to open 370 service points at military camps nationwide. To assist people travelling during the New Year festival. Their services will be provided free from Dec 27 until Jan 2. They will include rest areas, drinking water, first aid, mobile phone battery recharging and massage.

Aside from military personnel, volunteers from the royally-sponsored Jit Arsa volunteer programme will also be working to serve travellers. They will work around the clock during the festive period, said Col Sirichan Ngathong, deputy spokeswoman for the army.

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