Ms Monchanit was runner up as Miss Thailand in 2019 and was in her final year as a science student at Khon Kaen University. The incoming Minister of Transport, Saksayam Chidchob, in 2019 made the issue of road safety a priority but apart from a tightening of regulations on drivers licenses and the use of powerful motorbikes, we have not seen a radical plan. At the end of 2019, not long after taking office, the minister proposed GPS tracking for all Thai vehicles but this was later shelved as unfeasible after being examined by panels.
The tragic death of a stunningly beautiful Thai pageant queen on Tuesday morning in Khon Kaen puts Thailand’s road accident problem in clear perspective and illustrates the loss to the kingdom of its most precious resource, day after day, in an unceasing parade of death and destruction.
A grieving family, on Tuesday, brought the tiara and sash that belonged to Miss Thailand runner up in 2019 to the Srinagarind Hospital in Khon Kaen where 22-year-old Monchanit ‘Nong Nam Mon’ Chuayboon died early the same morning.
The items were later displayed at funeral rites for the young woman, a 4th year science student at Khon Kaen University, who succumbed to injuries sustained in a car accident on the grounds of the university on Monday morning just hours after Valentine’s Day.
Third person to die in horror crash
Ms Monchanit was the third person to die in the accident which occurred when a car, driven by 23-year-old Thiradet Kulkhemrangsi, hit a tree at an intersection on the campus in a horrific crash.
22-year-olds Krikrit Sukongpongphan and Kornchanda Siangsai from Maha Sarakham province were pronounced dead at the scene when emergency services arrived.
The driver is reported to have only sustained minor injuries.
Miss Thailand pageant paid tribute to the young woman who was runner up in the 2019 competition
On Tuesday, the Miss Thailand pageant paid tribute to the beauty queen by posting her photograph on the organisation’s Facebook page as her family took her body back to her home province of Ubon Ratchathani.
The young woman’s father, Police Colonel Noppadon Chuayboon, is the Chief at Nam Thieng Police Station in Si Sa Ket province.
The poignant story of a beautiful young woman who had already made a name for herself and was about to complete a university degree brings home starkly to us the tragedy of road accidents which take the lives of 56 people in Thailand every day.
Highlights the loss the kingdom suffers every day which also has long term consequences
What Ms Monchanit’s death highlights, beyond records and statistics, is that these accidents, overwhelmingly, take the lives of the young, more active adults in Thai society.
People with so much potential and so much to give.
This is quite apart and in addition to the sadness and grief that her family must be experiencing, a question of hopes dashed with a valuable young life extinguished. This is also true for every family, every day.
In 2018, the Bloomberg Initiative for Road safety produced a report which examined several developing countries and put Thailand at the top of its list for lives lost through road accidents, deaths which it described as ‘unacceptable’ and ‘preventable’ and which will cause economic loss to the kingdom in the future.
22% of potential GDP gains over the coming decades will be wiped out by ‘preventable’ accidents
It estimated that Thailand will lose 22% of its GDP growth potential over the next few decades attributable to the deaths of active adults over that time and to huge numbers of serious injuries.
The World Health Organisation estimates that Thailand loses 22,000 people every year to road traffic accidents, a figure that is improving as it has fallen to number 3 in the shameful list of the countries with the world’s most dangerous roads.
The government, the Ministry of Transport and minister have been taking action tightening the regulation of driving licences and high powered motorbikes which cause nearly 80% of deaths.
Plans to place GPS surveillance in all vehicles shelved in 2019 as not feasible after panels were set up
In late 2019, Minister of Transport, Saksayam Chidchob pursued a revolutionary proposal to have Thailand’s motor vehicles equipped with GPS by default and monitored but the plan failed to be implemented after being examined by a number of panels on the grounds of feasibility at that time.
So far in 2021, 2,090 people have already lost their lives on Thailand’s roads and 136,011 have been injured in accidents according to the Thai Accident Data Centre.
This would put the country on target to lose 16,583 lives this year, an improvement but the figure will go higher as the pandemic recedes.
Among them is a Thai beauty queen and countless others with dreams and future roles to play that are now simply lost to us all.