Thai drink-drivers could be sent to work in morgues as punishment

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Punishment for drink-drivers and repeat traffic offenders in Thailand could include mandatory work experience in morgues under new plans by authorities to try and reduce accidents and fatalities on the country's roads.

Thailand, which has the second worst record in the world for traffic fatalities, has tried numerous tactics to curb drink-driving and motorcyclist's riding without helmets, including threatening to impound repeat offender's vehicles during the annual Songkran holiday.
The seven-day festival sees thousands of Thais take to the road on motorbikes - often without helmets - to return to their home villages from the big cities to reunite with families. Alcohol usually plays a large role in the festivities.

It is estimated that during the "Seven Days of Danger" more than two people die and 160 are injured every hour.

"Traffic offenders who are found guilty by courts will be sent to do public service work at morgues in hospitals," Police colonel Kriangdej Jantarawong, deputy director of the special task planning division, told The Guardian.

"It is a strategy used to make traffic offenders afraid of driving recklessly and driving while they are drunk because they could end up in the same condition. It is aimed to be a deterrent, a way to discourage people."

According to The Telegraph, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates about 24,000 people die each year in Thai road traffic accidents. Only Libya records a greater number of fatalities per capita.

Drunk driving is the cause of 26 per cent of road deaths, according to WHO, and road accidents making up 5.1 per cent of all deaths in the country.

Despite the ruling junta's efforts, the death toll has been rising in recent years. "We originally had community services at hospital wards (for offenders)," Nontajit Netpukkana, a senior official at the department of probation, told The Telegraph.

"But we think the intensity that comes from working in a morgue will help give those doing community service a clearer picture of what happens after accidents caused by drink driving."