Mr Surachai Liengboonlertchai is a lawyer by profession and has been a Senator in the Thai Parliament since 2007. Struck by the loss of several lives of injured and ill people who failed to reach the hospital in time due to Bangkok’s notoriously dense traffic, Mr Surachai was determined as a legislator to address this situation in order to save the lives of Thai people. In April 2016 he established the Assembly’s Committee on Integration and Coordination of Emergency Medical Service, bringing together more than 30 organizations to improve the efficiency of emergency services.
Through his leadership, he initiated a campaign “Giving Way is Giving Lives” by integrating efforts among various stakeholders to create awareness among the public to give way to ambulances and to use the national emergency aid hotline 1669. The key messages were delivered to the public through several channels, from a roadshow – from which Mr Surachai himself distributed brochures and stickers – to announcements in print and broadcast media, advertisements on ATM machines and publicity on billboards on roads where traffic is congested. Public communication alone was not enough; Mr Surachai expanded his efforts to include integration of plans by the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority and the Royal Thai Police to establish an emergency lane for ambulances.
The first emergency lane was launched in September 2016 from Din Daeng Road to Rajavithi Hospital in the heart of Bangkok. This initiative has helped to minimize the time interval between a road traffic crash and the provision of first professional emergency care. In 2019, Mr Surachai spearheaded the expansion of emergency lanes to three more hospitals in Bangkok. Mr Surachai also played a key role in promoting safer road users by accelerating the passage of the amendment of the Land Traffic Law in the Assembly. Passed on 22 February 2019 by a majority of votes, the amendment of the Land Traffic Law aims to prevent dangerous driving behaviours and strengthen law enforcement through a point deduction system among other measures. The amendment will become effective 120 days after being announced in the government gazette.