KAMPHAENG PHET – One woman has been killed and four other severly injured when a passenger van ran they were traveling in went off the road and hit a tree in the median in Northern Thailand, Friday morning.
Pol Capt Bancha Sum-ngern, a duty-officer at Khanu Waralaksaburi police station reported that the latest fatal accident involving public transport van occurred at around 5.30am.
Police and rescue workers arrived at the scene to find the Passenger Van crumpled into a big tree, in the ditch dividing the road.
A female passenger from Myanmar was repoted dead at the scene while three other passengers including the driver, Mr. Chatchawan Chanthamas, were injured and trapped in the vehicle.
The injured, including the driver were taken to a nearby hospital.
Mr Chatchawan, 45, was badly hurt and could not give police a statement.
The van picked up four passengers, three women and a man, in Samut Sakhon and was taking them to Tak’s Mae Sot district on the Myanmar border. Police suspect the driver fell asleep at the wheel, but were still waiting to question him.
The crash comes a day after Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said Section 44 of the interim constitution will be invoked to supplement the enforcement of the new land traffic act to deal with passenger vans, buses and pickup trucks which do not comply with the laws in a last-ditch effort to curb deadly road accidents involving these vehicles.
He said security officials would work out all the details about how to deal with the illegal public transports and pickup trucks which carry passengers in response to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha’s order to get tough with these vehicles within three months from now before the Songkran long holidays when most people will travel.
Meanwhile, Mr Chidchai Sanansrisakorn, deputy director-general of Land Transport Department, on Thursday that all the existing passenger vans operating from Bangkok to upcountry provinces must be phased out in six months and replaced with 20-seat micro buses.
He said Deputy Transport Minister Pichit Akarathit had wanted the Land Transport Department to move forward the timetable to phase out all passenger vans to six months from now instead of between 2019-2021.
The minister’s phase-out plan is divided into two stages with the first stage for some 5,000 passenger vans operating between Bangkok and upcountry provinces to be phased out and replaced with 20-seat micro buses.
Passenger vans operating between provinces, excluding Bangkok, will be the next to be phased out, said Mr Chidchai.
However, he pointed out that since micro buses are more expensive and they are not locally assembled, he would raise the issue with the transport minister.
By Geoff Thomas