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Bangkok Road Accident Revives Debate On Use Of Seat Belts In Vans

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Tragedy shatters families

By The Nation

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Road accident revives debate on use of seat belts in vans

Dr Sastra Chaothiang, who was among the eight fatalities in Monday night's deadly accident on the Vibhavadi Rangsit tollway, was wellloved at his alma mater, the Benjamarachutit School in Ratchaburi.

Most of his teachers shed tears at the death of the doctorateholder.

"He rode a bicycle to the school with books and flower garlands every day," Boonma Wattanawalan, 50, a highschool teacher recalled yesterday.

She described Sattra as a polite, diligent and dutiful boy.

"All the teachers appreciated his qualities," Boonma said.

Sastra lived a difficult life but was determined to better his circumstances through education. He got his PhD in England at the young age of 27, five years ago, they said.

Sastra's biological mother was so poor she had to give up the baby soon after his birth, said his adoptive mother Thawin Chaotheing.

Thawin said she had a stall selling garlands in Ratchaburi Market. The family was poor and Sastra had to help deliver garlands using a bicycle until he reached Mathayom 3 at Benchamarachuthit Ratchaburi School. "We were poor and couldn't afford cram schooling for him but he was a good student and would take textbooks to go and ask teachers right away.

He passed the entrance exam to study Mathayom 4 at Bangkok's Triam Udom School and managed to pass the university entrance exam at Mathayom 5 level to study medicine at Siriraj Hospital. But Sastra said he wanted to study abroad, so he asked me for Bt3,000 to get tutoring for 10 hours per month," she said.

Sastra understood that it was difficult for the family to make money and he never created any problems or became wayward, she added.

"I was so proud that he got the Civil Service Commission [CSC] scholarship to study in England because he faced adversities all his life and everything he got was because he tried and worked hard," she said.

After getting his PhD, Sastra worked to repay the scholarship at the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA). He sent some money to her from his Bt48,000 salary, she said. Lately, she saw he was trying to settle down in life and she didn't want to disturb him much.

"He visited me once or twice a year. We had planned to do meritmaking together on January 9. But he is gone. I don't understand how this happened and I'm in grief," she said.

She revealed that Sastra didn't want to buy a car, as he wanted to return to England after repaying the scholarship. Sastra's cremation will be on January 2 at Wat Koh Namtha in Ratchaburi.

Relatives of the eight deceased yesterday collected the bodies from the morgue of the Police General Hospital.

The other seven deceased are: Pinyo Jinanthuya, 34, an assistant to Dean of Thammasat University's Faculty of Architecture and Planning; Trong Sudthanakit, 24; Pratya Khantha, a thirdyear economics student at Thammasat; Sudawadi Nilwan, a thirdyear law student at Thammasat; Ukrit Ratanachomsri, a researcher at the National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology; female van driver Nareumon Pitathanang, 38; and Kiattiman Rodaree, 23.

Sastra's 19yearold half brother Dusit Chaowakriahak said the family was much grieved because Sastra was the family's pride and support. "My mum is very sad but today she still has to go and sell garlands because it's a Buddhist day. She makes Bt5,000 a month and my brother Sastra helped support her after his PhD in biology from Birmingham University. Sastra also tried to save up to build her a house," Dusit said, adding Sastra also helped send him to school and plan his future.

Pratya's uncle and guardian Chaipat Jantrasuriyarat, 50, said that his nephew had asked for permission to return home late on the fateful day because he needed tutoring for his exam on Friday."

Chaipat revealed that at the time of the accident, Pratya was talking to his girlfriend on the phone because she heard him yell in pain before the line went dead. They later learned about the fatal accident.

Chaipat said he wanted passenger vans and taxis to have safety belts for all seats because only those who were flung out of the vehicle from the impact died. He said the family was considering suing the sedan driver who might have been speeding considering the seriousness of the accident.

Sudawadi's aunt, Nareumon Nilwan, 57, said Sudawadi was travelling to the Mor Chit Bus Terminal to visit her family in Ubon Ratchathani during the New Year holidays. Her policeman dad and nurse mum were preparing food to welcome her home at that time. "She was a sweet girl and studious and never gave any problems. She wanted to be a judge," Nareumon said.

Sudawadi's funeral will be held at Wat Suwannapak in Ubon Ratchathani. Nareumon also urged stricter law enforcement to ensure all passengers wore seat belts to prevent such tragedies in future.

The younger brother of Pinyo, Itthikorn Jinathuya, said that after graduating from high school in Nakhon Sawan, the studious Pinyo received a scholarship to study in Japan. He completed his master's degree in architecture and worked at Thammasat University to repay the scholarship. He said Pinyo was planning to apply for a scholarship to do his PhD in England. Normally, Pinyo used the Thammasat welfare van to return home in the Aree area or his Japanese wife used to pick him up. But she was attending a party on Monday night and Pinyo had to clear some work so he used the passengervan service.

Pinyo's funeral will be held at Wat Nong Chik in Chainat.

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-- The Nation 2010-12-29

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A truly tragic accident. My condolences to the families.

Thailand really needs to develop a genuine Safety First attitude, especially in driving, electrical and construction safety versus just posting Safety First signs/slogans everywhere. But I know reaching that point is probably many years, probably several decades, away.

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it seems this is the girl chatting and twittering after the accident... from her statements she was not concerned but excited how many fatalities she caused...

164188_1753440002734_1440956935_1969337_1781740_n.jpg

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Every time I have taken one of those vans I always feared for my life. They pack them in so tight and drive at break neck speeds to try to squeeze out another Baht. We all know however it will be business as usual within a week when the next few headlines push this to the back page.

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I work at TU and take the same van service every day/night. I know who the van driver was that died and may have had one of the law students as a student this semester in a special class. I am waiting for the administrator to check the names as I don't read Thai. I would probably have been in that van-the last van of the night EXCEPT it is mid-term exam time so I am not at school late at night this week! I probably rode with some of the other dead or injured from time to time. If i saw there pictures I would recognize them.

All of the vans I have ridden in have seat belts. The seat belts are tied behind the seats in a tight knot so we can not use them--probably to squeeze one extra person in per row. That thirty baht extra per seat is how much a life is valued here I guess.

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Seat belts save lives - all passengers in vans and taxis should have then available for use.

And a full body airbag' for motorcyclists.:jap:

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it seems this is the girl chatting and twittering after the accident... from her statements she was not concerned but excited how many fatalities she caused...

164188_1753440002734_1440956935_1969337_1781740_n.jpg

I guess she called her dad to order a new car....

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Think must wait for the facts in full to materialize but the 16 year old was unlicensed to drive this particular vehicle, so she must be held responsible along with the person who gave her permission to drive their vehicle KNOWING the vehicle would be uninsured with an unlicensed driver.

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I work at TU and take the same van service every day/night. I know who the van driver was that died and may have had one of the law students as a student this semester in a special class. I am waiting for the administrator to check the names as I don't read Thai. I would probably have been in that van-the last van of the night EXCEPT it is mid-term exam time so I am not at school late at night this week! I probably rode with some of the other dead or injured from time to time. If i saw there pictures I would recognize them.

All of the vans I have ridden in have seat belts. The seat belts are tied behind the seats in a tight knot so we can not use them--probably to squeeze one extra person in per row. That thirty baht extra per seat is how much a life is valued here I guess.

It's so crazy how they purposely disable the seat belts in taxis and these vans. And farang ask me "Why do you drive your own car?" :blink:

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it seems this is the girl chatting and twittering after the accident... from her statements she was not concerned but excited how many fatalities she caused...

164188_1753440002734_1440956935_1969337_1781740_n.jpg

I guess she called her dad to order a new car....

She was calling Daddy who is a big shot policeman to get her out her mess. According a Thai website he arranged for her to get off with a B400 fine for driving without a licence and spirited her out of the country until things cool down.

Edited by Arkady

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Seat belts are part of a long list of things besides:

1. Under aged driving

2. The thought of even driving a car while under aged

3. The thought that parents would ALLOW an under aged driver to have a car

4. Low barriers along freeways 20+ meters in the air

5. Blackberry phones in cars

6. Thailand

And to think we just had a runaway van off the Rama 6 exit a month or so ago.

Sad.

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Every time I have taken one of those vans I always feared for my life. They pack them in so tight and drive at break neck speeds to try to squeeze out another Baht. We all know however it will be business as usual within a week when the next few headlines push this to the back page.

Yep, tires are too soft, suspension too spongy for a load that heavy and forget any chance for survival in a rear end collision if you're in the rear seats as has been dramatically and tragically evidenced as there is absolutely nothing between you, what hits you and the seats in front of you. Sadly you're toast and it has always concerned me on few occasions when I've ridden in one.... This girl must not have even slowed and hit this van at maximum speed totally oblivious, I'm astounded and horrified at how far the young man was thrown that was hanging by his arm on the walk over bridge and the possibility that neither her nor her family may have any responsibility in this is beyond incomprehensible and they're talking about minimal changes like a GPS unit installed without even considering real changes like safe maximum number of passengers, proper seats for all and not hose worthless little bench seats and seat belts..

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