Pattaya tries again to make drivers stop for pedestrians

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Pattaya City Hall once again is trying to get drivers to heed pedestrian crossing signals and crosswalks, and to not blow through the red lights at crossing signals.
Pattaya City Hall once again is trying to get drivers to heed pedestrian crossing signals and crosswalks, and to not blow through the red lights at crossing signals.

Pattaya City Hall once again is trying to get drivers to heed pedestrian crossing signals and walks.

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In a Jan. 3 statement, city hall said accidents largely are the fault of careless drivers who just blow through the red lights at crossing signals and don’t yield to tourists used to western road regulations that give pedestrians the right of way.

“All drivers should respect traffic rules by stopping at traffic signals … or slowing down upon arriving in community zones,” the statement said. “Moreover, the drivers must observe warning signs and immediately slow down or stop the vehicle when seeing pedestrians crossing the street within 50-100 meters for safety.”

But city hall also warned pedestrians to do their part, only crossing when signals turn green and not to walk in the street, despite the sorry or nonexistent state of most Pattaya sidewalks.

It’s not the first time, of course, that authorities have tried to reign in reckless drivers, a campaign that began with the installation of 42 lights by former mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, brother of current mayor Sonthaya Kunplome.

Launched Nov. 1, 2010, Itthiphol’s pet project was immediately ridiculed and all but ignored by drivers who simply blew through red lights. Among those ignoring the lights were Pattaya’s own police officers, who were even captured on video speeding through zebra crossing as pedestrians tried to cross.

The project officially was declared a failure in February 2011 when traffic police asked the city to turn off the lights on weekdays until a better system could be designed. It never was.

Before Southeast Asian military leaders arrived for the International Fleet Show in late 2017 city hall surveyed the lights and found nearly all were broken. So as to give the impression Pattaya adhered to world safety standards, city hall repaired signals on Beach and Second Roads, but not ones in Naklua or leading to Jomtien Beach.