Sunday, January 13, 2013

Dangerous Thai Roads

The Death Ramp

Up, Over and then the Downwards Plunge
Right about 2 years ago, a close colleague departed from our world. We were all saddened by that episode. In his mid-thirties and with the whole world ahead of him, he left unexpectedly. His wedding was recent then, in fact he got married for just a few months when his BMW 3 Series decided to take him along with it after it plunged from an elevated highway somewhere north of Bangkok. It was 3am, the roads were dark, he went up the ramp at high speeds, the beamer went airborne, flipped and landed on her roof. The few days that followed, police were there to take pictures and do their routine stuffs. Damaged properties were repaired and with that the case was closed. The funeral soon proceeded and that was the first time in my life I had to hold the cold hands of a corpse that had his head bashed in and cosmetically reconstructed. It was tradition, I held my friend's hand, gave a prayer and bided him farewell. The death ramp awaits her next victim.

Life terminating accidents on roads can be caused by many factors, sometimes not just the driver. If someone digs a 10 meter deep trench in the middle of the road and did not put up warning signs, who is to blame? We can blame the driver, he should have spotted the deep hole and avoided the accident. It is controversial the blaming game. I know for sure that in certain countries, we can sue the shit out of city authorities for having dangerous settings on roads , but not here in our "culture".

What then does it take to get the authorities to look into these death ramps seriously and take preventive actions? Over the course of 2 years passed, there were more reports of road deaths from similarly related accidents of people plunging to their deaths from these death ramps. It was only after a big hoo-haa over the media when someone famous died somewhere along Ratchada Viphavadi intersection that the authorities decided to put up barriers in front of that death ramp. The guy who died was a movie star. We had thought that after the flood of news, all such death ramps that exist in Thailand will have theses life saving barriers put up. We were wrong. Many of them are still as it is up till today. Maybe the authorities do have plans for all such locations to be made safer, but it is to be carried out in phases for budgetary reasoning. We do see barriers put up on other locations too but not many. Maybe we need more movie star sacrifices, maybe we need some tourist to be flying off them death traps. Whatever the reasons, whatever the delay, drive carefully guys, watch out for the death ramp.

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