Drink-drivers and repeat traffic offenders in Thailand could be sent to work in hospital morgues under a new plan by the authorities to try to put a stop to carnage on the country’s roads.
Thailand has the second worst record in the world for traffic fatalities.
During the annual Songkran holiday, thousands of Thais take to the road on motorbikes – often without helmets – to return to their home villages from the big cities to reunite with families. Alcohol usually plays a large role in the festivities.
It is estimated that during the “Seven Days of Danger” more than two people die and 160 are injured every hour.
Amid fears the situation might be getting worse, the government, which earlier this year said drink-drivers could have their cars impounded for the duration of the holiday, last week approved the morgue shock treatment plan.
“Traffic offenders who are found guilty by courts will be sent to do public service work at morgues in hospitals,” said Police colonel Kriangdej Jantarawong, deputy director of the special task planning division.
“It is a strategy used to make traffic offenders afraid of driving recklessly and driving while they are drunk because they could end up in the same condition. It is aimed to be a deterrent, a way to discourage people.”
Anurak Amornpetchsathaporn, director of the emergency response for the Bureau of Public Health, said Monday that a stint of working in hospital morgues may bring home the problem to reckless drivers in a way that community service such as tidying up parks and libraries has failed to do.
“They should see the actual physical and mental damage,” he said. “In the morgue, they will have to be cleaning up and transporting bodies, so that hopefully they would feel the pain, so that they may understand and attain a good conscience, so that it could be safer on the roads.”