Chonburi crash that killed 25 will lead to fewer passenger vans on roads

Following a tragic accident on Monday where a passenger van hit a pickup truck full of people and 25 died in Chonburi, the Transport Ministry has announced that they will commence with plans to better enforce the safety of the vans and begin to replace many of these interprovincial vans with buses by 2019.

Though the 64-year-old van driver responsible for the accident was found to be sober via autopsy, police investigators suspect that intense fatigue may have been the cause of the fatal incident. Because of this, drivers of vans will also face stricter rules in the new year.

The van was headed to Bangkok from Chanthaburi province when it hit the pickup truck and both vehicles caught fire, resulting in the death of 14 people in the minivan and 11 in the truck. Only two people survived the accident, reported The Nation.

It has been reported that the van had passed inspection and was running well but the driver of the van had rested for only one hour after his previous trip to Bangkok and had actually begun work at 4am on Sunday morning and had driven back-and-forth from Chantaburi and Bangkok five times in 31 hours. It’s an approximately 250 kilometer trip each way.

Drivers working these kinds of hours are more common than they should be, and due to this, new laws will be put in place that force drivers to rest for an hour after every four hours of driving.

The Transport Ministry hopes to install GPS in passenger vans so that they can track the movements and schedules of the drivers as well.

The Assistant National Police chief, Pol. Lt. Gen. Wittaya Prayong-pan, said “From the inspection at the scene, there was no sign that the driver tried to stop the van and it was not in a dangerous section, so we think the driver dozed off, causing the van to lose direction and hit the pickup truck.”

The Chief of the Provincial Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Office in Chonburi, Siwakorn Buapong, said “To prevent such a tragic accident, we must ensure that the transport vehicle driver has a proper rest before driving, the vans must be installed with safety equipment and the vans should not run on NGV (natural gas for vehicles),” he said.

The van in the accident had three NGV tanks, all of which exploded at the time of the crash.

The victims in the crash included eight men, 13 women, a boy and a girl. Two victims are still not identified by gender and no names have been released. Since most of the victims were badly burned, it will take at least one more day to identify victims by DNA.

Police haven’t yet filed any charges in the incident and their investigation is ongoing.


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