Free helmets for good drivers, tickets for the rest in Sattahip

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“Respect traffic laws, get a free helmet. Break the law, get a ticket.” That was the message Sattahip police put out as they kicked off a new drive to get people to drive better.

Sattahip Police Superintendent Col. Somchai Sunthawanik and other ranking officers staffed a Sukhumvit Road checkpoint March 8, handing out 200 motorbike helmets to those staying within speed limits, wearing helmets and carrying a driver’s license.

About 20 percent of drivers 18-20 years old, however, hit the checkpoint with their noggins unprotected or without a license. For them, police handed out 100 baht traffic tickets.

Those obeying the traffic laws receive a free helmet. Those obeying the traffic laws receive a free helmet.

With the tickets, officers also handed out flyers stating: “Driving respectful of the rules saves lives. Diving without helmets will result in regret and wastes money.”

Somchai said no fewer than 10 people a year died on Sattahip-area roads every year between 2002 and 2008. Most deaths involved alcohol use and not wearing helmets. He hopes the police department’s assertive action on the streets will improve safety in the district.