Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob has ordered a study into the proposed plan and acknowledges that a law will be required to protect driver’s rights if the measure gets the green light in what would be a world-first for Thailand.
Thailand may become the first country in the world to have all its vehicles monitored by GPS devices in a radical plan being considered by authorities to tackle the appalling death toll and carnage suffered daily on the country’s road system.
Thailand’s dynamic Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob has ordered a study into introducing GPS tracking devices on all private vehicles being driven on Thailand’s road network to include both four-wheel vehicles and motorbikes.
GPS would be mandatory and continuously monitor driver behaviour on all vehicles
It is understood that GPS devices would be mandatory and would track driver behaviour on a continuous basis. This would allow police and regulatory authorities to detect offenders and take appropriate action against them.
Government committees set up to explore ways to improve road safety in September
The move comes following a series of committees set up by the minister to explore all areas where action can be taken to address the country’s chronic road safety problem which each year claims tens of thousands of lives and which has been identified by agencies such as the World Health Organisation, the World Bank and financial publishing firm Bloomberg as a key threat to the full development of the Thai economy.
Thailand would be the first in the world with such a regime for road traffic policing
If the move were to be given the green light, it would make Thailand the first country in the world to introduce such a controlled driving regime but in the context of the country’s appalling road safety record, it may be highly appropriate.
Already installed in all public transport vehicles
The transport minister revealed that such devices have already been installed on public transport vehicles to monitor driving and detect road safety issues. Mr Saksayam acknowledged the issues that would arise in relation to privacy and human rights but suggested that a well-crafted law could help.
There would also be the key question of the huge cost involved to cover nearly 31 million registered with the Department of Land Transport on Thailand’s roads.
Scale would make for a competitive price
The minister suggested that the scale of the deployment of the GPS devices may help to make their cost and installation more affordable. This could be followed by specifications and the installation of the devices on new vehicles at factories before they sold for use on Thailand’s roads.
The minister envisages holding public forums to involve the public, including drivers, in the decision-making process.
Thai authorities have squared up to driver behaviour as the root of the problem
The serious consideration of this proposal and the study being ordered shows clearly that Thailand’s authorities have now recognised driver behaviour including speeding and erratic driving as the key cause of the high level of road deaths on Thailand’s roads that puts the country right at the top of the list when comes to road fatalities and perhaps the claim to the most dangerous driving environment in the world certainly in Asia.
Investigation by the Department of Land and Transport into the most suitable devices
The Director-General of Thailand’s Department of Land and Transport, Chirute Visalachitra has revealed that the study ordered by the minister will explore the exact nature of the sort of GPS devices that would be best suited to the purpose of the plan to regulate and monitor Thai vehicles including cars and motorbikes.
His figures revealed up to 10 million private cars and 21 million motorbikes registered with the department with nearly 7 million cars privately owned.