Chiang Mai will become the first province in Thailand to install “smart” closed-circuit cameras to snap photos of motorcyclists not wearing helmets so police can fine and educate them.
Chiang Mai traffic police deputy commander Pol. Lt. Col. Supachai Chantra and accident-prevention project head Thirawut Komutabut said the goal is to cut the number of deaths and injuries resulting from accidents in which motorbike drivers and passengers didn’t wear helmets.
The first phase of the project that begins Dec. 15 will see two “Smart AI CCTV” cameras installed each in Muang, San Sai, Saraphi, Mae Rim and Hang Dong districts. Signs also will be posted warning motorcyclists about the cameras and explaining the risks of not wearing helmets.
Thailand has one of the highest road fatality rates in the world with motorcycles involved in more than 80 percent of those deaths. In Chiang Mai, 504 people have been killed in road accidents this year, 398 of them on motorcycles. In the five targeted districts alone there have been 243 deaths, 204 of them riding motorbikes.
The cameras are being funded with a grant from the Thailand Safer Roads Foundation. Police in each district will review the photos of offending motorcyclists and deliver tickets in person to the owner’s home to explain the risk of driving without a helmet.
Of course, drivers and passengers also will be fined 800 and 400 baht, respectively. It’s hoped education and repeated fines will result in an 80 percent reduction in fatalities in the five districts.