Transport minister orders probe into fatal road tragedy in Sa Kaew province

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob has ordered an investigation into a fatal road accident, which occurred early Sunday morning on Highway 317 in Thailand’s eastern province of Sa Kaew. A packed passenger van apparently hit an articulated truck head-on, killing 11 people, including the van driver, and injuring four others.

He said today that officials from the Land Transport Department have been sent to the scene to find the exact cause of the accident, although initial suspicion was that the van driver, identified as Mr. Sansern Sathongkhan, might have fallen asleep at the wheel.

Examination of the GPS system showed that the van driver had not exceeded the speed limit.

The accident took place at about 4am near Wang Somboon district. The force of the collision completely destroyed the front section of the van, while the truck sustained minor damage.

In addition to Mr. Sansern, who was crushed to death behind the steering wheel, the ten other dead victims were all Laotians travelling from Savannakhet province in Laos to Bangkok.

Mr. Saksayam said that the Land Transport Department had been told to enforce the law strictly regarding the roadworthiness of public transport vehicles and the fitness of the drivers.

If vehicles do not meet the roadworthiness requirements, he said that they must not be used on the road until the problem is fixed and the drivers will have their licenses withdrawn if they are found to be unfit to drive.

The transport minister went on to say that drivers account for about 72% of road accidents, while the condition of vehicles causes 2.9% of the accidents.



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