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Phuket Opinion: Is GPS really the solution?

PHUKET: At last action is going to be taken in a bid to reduce road accidents caused by and involving the countries numerous minivans. However, is the action – the installation of a Global Positioning Systems (GPS) – really going to be enough to counter the problem?

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By The Phuket News

Sunday 22 January 2017, 09:00AM


A Phuket taxi and commercial passenger minivan lay prone on the road after a collision on Jan 11. Photo: The Phuket News / file

A Phuket taxi and commercial passenger minivan lay prone on the road after a collision on Jan 11. Photo: The Phuket News / file

Firstly, as you will see from The Phuket News report (click here), it is clear that the GPS law being rolled out will not apply to all minivans on Phuket’s roads, or to those used to provide visa runs.

Amazingly, and for reasons known only by lawmakers, vans that are registered as private vehicles are exempt from the crackdown, meaning only vehicles registered as commercial passenger vehicles will be required to install GPS.

To clarify, private passenger vans are issued licence plates with blue writing on a white background, while commercial passenger vehicles are fitted with yellow plates with black writing.

Next time you’re on the road, see how many vans you see with the different plates, you will then be able to see roughly what percentage of minivans are affected by this crackdown.

Secondly, according to officials, there are already more than 4,600 vans and more than 1,000 buses in Phuket that already have GPS installed. But has this seen any reduction in the number of vans and buses from Phuket involved in accidents?

Finally, and probably most importantly, the GPS units fitted in the crackdown-affected vans and buses can be used to regulate the driver’s speed.

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However, again amazingly, and for reasons known only by lawmakers, this option is self-regulated.

Again, to clarify, the GPS can be used as an alarm when a driver is driving faster than the speed set in the system. However, that system can be set at the desired speed either by the driver or his employer. Are we really to believe that these speeds will be set by what “normal” road users here in Phuket see as a safe speed?

Yes, it is great news that the issue of the safety of minivans is finally being looked at.

However, what they seem to miss is the fact that it is not in fact the vans themselves that cause these accidents, but the people behind the wheel.

Surely a more simple and beneficial way to stop these accidents would be to install a speed limiter. And not only to vehicles registered as commercial passenger vehicles, but all vehicles that are responsible or carrying any member of the general public.

 

 

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BenPendejo | 23 January 2017 - 00:23:34

Thanks PN, for politely calling out this "safety measure" for the nonsense that it is.  It will make no difference whatsoever, as van drivers continue to drive like complete ass***les everywhere you go.  They are the worst, and only drastic measures with significant financial repercussions are going to make any difference. And you were also spot on in noting that the vans don't kill ...

zib | 22 January 2017 - 22:32:59

Just get working speed cameras...

Andy | 22 January 2017 - 21:37:01

The answer to your headline question is no. This is evident for the reasons given and the simple fact that it cannot and willnot be policed.
I do have a solution if anyone is interested. Within my business I have an electronic programmable device that costs under 25,000 baht fitted. This device limits the speed of the vehicle, the maximum engine revolutions and the acceleration. However, it is ex...

simon01 | 22 January 2017 - 11:36:34

This is Phuket at its best. Just a bag of wind for the press. The dangerous vans are the visa run vans. As for self regulation all cars and vans have this already. Its the peddle on the right. Its called accelerator. Its the drivers that need regulating ( sacking) and get real qualified drivers in. Not cheap drug running, corrupt mafia drivers. The easy way to stop this is have the police stopping...

Belzybob | 22 January 2017 - 11:23:04

I haven't seen anywhere an explanation of what these GPS units are and what they do. If they are a simple navigation GPS, then really what is the point. Unless it is a GPS tracking unit sending data to a central monitoring/recording point its worthless. Even then, is it going to be an effective deterrent against poor driving?

Another half-baked and poorly considered action.

Aachen | 22 January 2017 - 10:23:58

GPS is a fine thing. You can see where the accident happens.
-- The only method to solve the problem is good trainig in driving schools, better test and regularly service the vehicles. Service means : not just pass some money to someone, but really look after the technique. (In Germany the police even rolls under a truck and checks the valves and brakes.)

Kurt | 22 January 2017 - 10:02:27

Answer on PN Opinion:
No, GPS is not going to tackle any road safety problem as non registrated passenger MiniVan's will not be obligated to install GPS.
And the photo here ( collision taxi with MiniVan) shows it are not the cars, but the 'professional' drivers who are the safety problem.
And the 'Bangkok' idea to replace minivan by mini busses for safety reasons is ridiculo...

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