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Devastating Tragedy Strikes: Thailand’s Beloved Double-Deckers to Vanish After Fatal Crash Claims 14 Lives!

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Thailand’s double-decker buses, known for their eye-catching exteriors, have long been a staple for both eager tourists and locals traversing the country’s vast landscapes. Despite their popularity, these towering vehicles have been scrutinized for safety concerns, a topic that has now reached a boiling point following a tragic accident.

The serene morning of Prachuap Khiri Khan province was abruptly shattered when a double-decker bus, en route from Bangkok’s bustling streets to the serene Na Thawi district in Songkhla, careered off the road and crashed into unsuspecting trees. This horrifying event claimed 14 lives and left 32 passengers with injuries. At the dark hour of 1am, the unfortunate incident occurred near the 331-kilometre marker in Thap Sakae district’s tambon Huai Yang, casting a shadow over the district’s tranquil nature.

Deputy government spokeswoman Rudklao Suwankiri addressed the nation, her tone sombre as she extended heartfelt condolences on behalf of the government to the bereaved families. The scene of the accident, as described by FS1 Chatchai Saweeyanon, head of the local Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Unit, painted a grim picture; bodies were strewn across both decks of the bus and four tragically lay outside the wreckage.

Thoughts and concern turned towards the 36-year-old bus driver, Somsak, now fighting for his life in a local hospital. Amidst the outpouring of grief and shock, Ms. Rudklao, announced a decisive government response; a future without double-decker buses within the next four to five years. A statement that indicated a turn towards prioritizing the safety of passengers over the charm of these iconic vehicles.

In a bid to enhance safety, she outlined the imminent changes—a reduction in the permissible height of double-decker buses to four meters and the incorporation of GPS systems for precise monitoring. The active double-deckers will have their licenses expire in the coming years, marking an end to their service and setting a new course for Thailand’s road transportation.

The prime minister has instructed the Transportation Ministry and related agencies to mitigate the damage and support the victim’s families, she assured the public. Yet, questions on oversight and regulation were raised by Kongsak Chuenkrailart, the public transport safety program’s coordinator at the Foundation for Consumers. He speculated fatigue and poor maintenance as possible crash culprits, urging a reevaluation of the safety standards of these buses.

The disturbing discrepancy between the bus company’s name and the provider of the tickets only added to the concerns. There was a call for transparency and access to records of maintenance checks, service life, insurance, and slope test certifications, which Kongsak notes are vital yet often undisclosed, contributing to the prevalence of accidents.

Lastly, the Department of Land Transport offered a silver lining; the bus was not speeding, traveling just below the limit at 88 km/h. Nonetheless, it’s clear that speed is only a piece of the puzzle in the broader scope of issues facing Thailand’s double-decker transport system.

With heavy hearts, Thailand looks to a future where the charm of its double-decker buses may be remembered, but their ride comes to a halt, prioritizing the smiles and security of its commuters and visitors alike. The country embarks on a new journey to redefine safety on its scenic roads, ensuring the memories made while traveling are of joy and discovery, not of loss.

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