Lawyers Call For Long Overdue Improvements To Road Safety In Thailand
The mothers of three teenagers who were tragically killed in a Thai coach crash have vowed to continue campaigning in their memory as the driver of the coach was sentenced to two years in prison for a number of driving offences leading to the deaths.
Max Boomgaarden-Cook, Bruno Melling Firth and Conrad Quashie, all 19 and from London, were killed in June last year as they travelled from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. The coach they were on collided with a bus in the town of Khlong Khlung, killing several passengers. The friends had flown to Thailand for a nine week holiday before starting university in September.
The driver of the coach – Mr Chan Noisri - has been convicted of negligent driving causing death, negligent driving causing grievous bodily harm, negligent driving causing bodily or mental harm and careless or reckless driving.
Clive Garner, Head of the travel law team at leading law firm Irwin Mitchell who is representing the parents said: “Whilst I welcome the sentencing, this horrific loss of young lives is evidence of the scale of problems on Thailand’s roads.
“Although nothing can ever bring Max, Conrad and Bruno back or make up for the heartbreak their loved ones continue to go through, their families are determined that no one else should suffer as they have.
“I would urge the Thai authorities to show that lessons have been learnt from this tragic case and to take dramatic steps, quickly, to ensure the safety of tourists and other members of the public travelling on their roads.
“We will continue to work with the boys’ families to help them get justice for their sons. They clearly did not deserve to lose their lives the way they did on what should have been the trip of a lifetime.”
Since the boys’ deaths, mothers Amanda Bean, Gillian Melling and Polly Cook have been campaigning tirelessly for improved road safety in Thailand. Shocking statistics confirm that action is required. In terms of road-crash death and injury, Thailand ranks among the top ten in the world and in recent years, road crashes have resulted in more than 1,000 fatalities per month and more than 80,000 injuries per year.
Commenting on her ongoing trauma since the loss of her son, Polly, from Brixton in south London, said: "Although some justice has been done, nothing can ever make up for the loss of my precious son. To know the driver’s actions contributed toward Max’s death - which could easily have been avoided if he’d driven with more care - is difficult to bear.
“Before he went on his trip, I warned Max to be careful about the usual things a mother worries about when their young son goes on holiday like the dangers of alcohol and drugs.
“If I or the boys had known about the terrible legacy of Thailand’s roads, perhaps they would have made a different choice about the way they travelled whilst they were on their trip.”
Speaking of her loss, Conrad’s mum Amanda Bean from Brixton says: “Losing Conrad has turned my life upside down. I’m determined to get the message about road safety issues to as many people as possible to prevent any other families from having their lives torn apart and suffering as we have.”
Gillian Melling, Bruno’s mum, from Waterloo adds: “Although my life will never be the same again, I want to implore the Thai authorities to do everything in their power to educate road users and make their roads safer so the boys did not die in vain.
“We’ll continue campaigning for change in our sons’ memory. It’s what they would have wanted - to make a difference.”
If you or a loved one has been injured in a road traffic accident while on holiday or working abroad, our specialist holiday accidents & illness claims team could help you to secure the compensation you deserve. See our Road Traffic Accident Abroad Claims page for more information.