Stop under age children to drive to school in cars or big bikes in Thailand.
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Dear Mr Minister,
I am sure that you are well aware of Thailand's unfortunate and dubious ranking as 2nd in the deadliest countries in the world to travel by road.
For long term expat residents such as myself, Thai citizens and for most of the people in the world, this is of great concern.
I understand that it is not easy to solve this problem. However, nothing substantial has been done so far to reduce the number of deaths and severe wounded on Thai roads.
Officials hold meetings (loss of time and public money) and make statements in newspapers that the government is going to tackle this problem.
But nothing really happens.
Last week, a 15 year young child driving a pickup ran over 2 people who were shopping at a market.
Parents, who have the supervision of their "children" should be encouraged to set a positive example, and properly instruct and supervise their children.
Schools and teachers must also share this role.
As long as nobody cares of the children, these tragic accidents will continue to happen.
The result of no role models, no supervision, and no action from school and community leaders is that nobody is respecting the law and the law enforcers.
A 500 baht fine (10 Euro or $15) and a "wai" with the words "I am sorry" does not help.
Respect for the laws and the law enforcers should start at a very young age and this is the responsibility of the School Educators.
I have children at a school in Thailand, and I see every day how children of 14 year and sometimes younger drive a car or a big bike to school.
Most do so without wearing a helmet or any physical protection and mostly with several children on 1 motorbike.
These children are under age and cannot obtain a driver license or get a proper insurance.
In case of an accident, the victims will be left with all the misery as they are not covered by any insurance.
I can sympathise that parents and schools who are living in the rice fields of a distant town in a (poor) farmers area, chose not to punish these children.
These children would have to walk a long way in order to get to the school.
But it is totally out of question to accept this behavior from children in a capital town where public transport is abundant as well as other, more secure possibilities to go to school are available.
The police witness this behavior every day at the school gates, but choose to turn a blind eye to it.
This is really unacceptable to most thinking parents and parents who are really concerned with the well-being of their children.
In my humble opinion, the schools should take a leadership role and begin some public incentives such as to forbid children to enter or be able to park a car a motorbike at the school grounds if that child has not reached the age drive that vehicle in a legal manner.
You, as the minister of education, have a responsibility to put real leadership initiatives in place to force your schools to take action against children who are ignoring the law and risking their lives.
Schools should teach the children that not following the law has REAL repercussions.
Doing this will create citizens who have respect for the law and the law enforcers, save countless young lives from the horrors of road violence, and assist the country to steer away from the international shame of number two in road deaths.
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