Road Safety


Dear Hillary,

Is all of Thailand suffering with a “Mai pen rai” attitude to road safety?  We are coming up to Songkran and hundreds are killed, but “Mai pen rai”.  The “educated” Thais I socialize and do business with are embarrassed by the poor drivers in Pattaya and the even poorer enforcement of the traffic laws.  Seven years ago, the VP of the company I then worked for dismissed Thailand as quote, “Have you seen a Thai behind the wheel; they’re barbarians.”

When a foreigner gets hurt on the streets of Pattaya, he goes home and tells his friends – possibly a million baht loss in tourist income.  A foreigner gets killed and it makes the Western Papers – maybe a hundred million baht impact to Thailand.

As for “If you weren’t there in the first place the accident wouldn’t have happened” – if the Thai wasn’t acting like a two year old half-wit and showed some sense of social responsibility consistent with that of an emerging industrialized nation, the accident probably wouldn’t have happened either!

I, like most people, came to Pattaya for the climate and relaxation, not to be run down by some socially irresponsible idiot with a fourth world mentality.  Overall, I enjoy living in Pattaya, but a more civilized attitude behind the wheel would go a long way to changing the backward, third world country image many westerners have of Thailand.  In the future, I think that you should take this issue more seriously!



Dear Matthew,

Do you honestly expect Hillary to change the driving standards here?  Be real, Petal!  “My Pen Rai” is part of the “why” I would believe.  However, Matthew, there are people who do take this seriously – for example, the Jomtien-Pattaya Rotary Club has previously sponsored Driver Education in the schools – surely the best way to change the attitude of tomorrow’s drivers.  Quite frankly, I do not think that your calling Thais “two year old half wits” or “socially irresponsible idiots” helps the problem much either.  I am told Thailand has the second worst road toll statistics in the world, and I agree we should do something about it.  In the meantime, just walk everywhere, you’re safe 90 percent of the time on the footpaths.