Menace of the dangling dolls
The Chiang Mai Transport Office will crack down on the recent trend of drivers hanging cute dolls underneath their vehicles or from their exhaust pipes by fining offenders up to Bt2,000 from July 1, though some motorists feel the authorities would do better to focus on other traffic violations.
In Bangkok, meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police are checking to see whether the practice runs counter to any existing laws - possibly the law prohibiting the installation of unauthorised items on vehicles, which is punishable with a fine of up to Bt1,000.
Chiang Mai Transport chief Chanchai Kilapaeng said yesterday that hanging dolls underneath vehicles - done in the belief that any evil spirits on the road will possess the dolls instead of harming the drivers - might cause road accidents and was against the law.
He said his office would continue campaigning for people to stop this practice until next Saturday, after which it would take tougher action by imposing fines. Fines will also be levied on vehicles carrying Japanese registration plates or wrong-sized plates, he added.
However, Chiang Mai Police deputy commander Colonel Chamnan Ruadrew said the provincial transport office had not contacted him about the matter but, if they did, he would look into which laws the hanging dolls violated.
No drivers have been arrested for hanging dolls so far, he said. Motorist Sanchakorn Trachu, 24, said the transport office's action was against an individual's rights and he did not believe doll-hanging caused accidents.
"Hanging cute dolls reduces motorists' stress," he said, warning that if arrests were made over this, local youngsters might protest.
Another Chiang Mai motorist, Natthanan Wongleukiart, 24, voiced a similar view and urged the authority to do something more productive, such as cracking down on cars playing loud music and drivers using mobile phones or dodging vehicle tax.