THE Land Transport Department should set up mobile units to check whether passenger vans follow maintenance guidelines after news spread that the one in the deadly collision in Chonburi on Monday was fitted with three gas tanks, Thai News Agency quoted a Thailand Development Research Institute Foundation academic as saying yesterday.
The deadly collision occurred after this passenger van zoomed across the grass median and slammed into a pickup truck coming in the opposite direction on Monday (Jan 2) leaving 25 people dead There were two survivors with each sitting at the rear of the two vehicles.
Sumet Ongkittikul, TDRI’s Research Director, Transportation and Logistics Policy, said although there is news that this passenger van was converted to hold three gas tanks it has yet to be verified.
Usually two gas tanks are enough for passenger vans running an average of 100-kilometer distance but not more than 150 kms.
However those running longer distances of 150 to 200 kms do install three gas tanks to have enough fuel but when these tanks are full they weigh 100 kilograms each. This means a van fitted with three gas tanks has an additional 300 kgs of weight and this heavy weight makes it difficult for the driver to control the vehicle in an accident.
Moreover today’s passenger vans usually have gas tanks fitted at the rear and when an accident occurs rescuers see these tanks and do not dare get close to help the victims.
Mr Sumet added that TDRI thinks an independent central body should be set up to check big accidents because many government agencies are usually involved and the full information to be used for future preventive measures might not emerge.
Top: Mr Sumet talking to the press about the deadly Chonburi collision that killed 25 people. Photo: Thai News Agency