Parliament President Chuan Leekpai says that a lack of discipline is a weakness among Thais but should be no barrier in tackling road accidents as long as they are determined to put it right.
Speaking on Friday at Parliament to commemorate World Day of Remembrance 2020 which pays tribute to road traffic victims, Mr Leekpai said he believed a determination to change behaviour and maintain discipline would solve the country’s high road accident toll.
“Why have we succeeded in tackling the problem of people smoking in public places, air-conditioned restaurants, or events? It’s about discipline, it’s not that we are worse than other countries, but it depends on whether we are taking it seriously,” he said.
“If we are determined, we can do it. Discipline is the key to solving problems. We can solve the problem of road accidents if we build the habit of discipline.”
Mr Leekpai recalled the time a researcher gathering information for national development visited his province. “As the host in Trang province, I was told Thailand had a lot of strengths. The only weakness was that Thais live in Thailand,” he said.
“To this I have to reply that on the contrary, Thailand’s strength is the Thai people but we cannot use only one weakness, a lack of discipline, to judge.
“Regarding the deaths and injuries which result from road accidents, we are among the top in the world. It’s a weakness that many people use to assess the quality of Thais. I tell them it’s not true. We have many outstanding points.”
He said a Vietnamese example on road safety might also help. There, the fine for not wearing helmets on a motorcycle is double the price of a helmet.
Remembrance Day is officially held on the third Sunday in November and Friday’s event attracted more than 60 attendees, including politicians and academics involved in road safety.