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Tuesday, 12 September, 2000, 14:00 GMT 15:00 UK
Thai drivers face platform shoe ban
Platform shoes
Hot in Bangkok: Platforms are the latest Thai foot fad
Drivers in Thailand may be banned from wearing platform shoes in an effort to improve road safety.

Police chiefs say the move follows concerns expressed by Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai at the number of accidents in which platform shoes may have been partly to blame.

Platform shoes have taken Thailand by storm in recent months with soles soaring to heights of 20cm or more.

The fad follows hot on the heels of the Japanese whose obsession with ever-taller platforms has been blamed for a number of road deaths.

'Unusual' acts

In both countries the thick soles have been blamed for hampering the driver's ability to reach the brakes in an emergency.

Bangkok traffic
No more lipstick at the lights for Bangkok commuters
Under the proposed law "driving acts that are unusual or make it difficult to control the vehicle" would be banned.

These include - but are not limited to - applying make-up whilst driving; holding babies at the wheel; and wearing excessive soles.

Government officials say the national police chief will be empowered to specify "unusual" driving acts within 90 days of an amendment to the existing 1979 traffic law taking effect.

Bangkok policeman
Bangkok traffic police are sceptical about enforcing the law
However traffic police on the beat in Bangkok, already burdened with working in one of the world's most pollutued cities, are sceptical that any such law would be enforceable.

One officer told the local English-language daily, The Nation, that difficulties would arise initially in defining what height of sole constitutes a platform.

"Shoes concern personal taste and you can't tell people what type of shoes they should wear," he told the paper.

The policeman added that enforcing the ban would mean traffic police having to stop every woman driver and looking at drivers' legs - a move he suggested might be viewed as sexual leering.

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20 Sep 99 | Health
Platform shoes pose health risk
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