Everyday is a Dangerous Day on Thailand’s Roads

Action Plan Aims to Cut Road Carnage
Action Plan Aims to Cut Road Carnage

Referring to the long New Year holidays from December 28th – January 3rd, these ‘Seven Dangerous Days’ are often stated to be the most dangerous period of the year for road traffic deaths in Thailand, In relation to this period during the 2017/2018 holidays, Deputy Interior Minister Sutee Markboon said 423 deaths and 4,005 injuries resulted from 3,841 accidents. Drunk driving and motorbike riders continue to be the leading indicators of road crashes. However crunching these numbers reveals an even darker statistic. The 7 day death toll daily average is 60.4; however this horrific figure is actually lower than the year-round average of 66 deaths daily! Everyday Deadly Statistics New Year 2017/18 7 Dangerous Days, 423 deaths 60 daily The Year 2017 365 Dangerous Days 24,000 deaths 66 daily Using data from the Thai government, the World Health Organisation estimated that around 24,000 people die in road accidents annually and that gives you a gruesome daily toll that exceeds the New Year’s carnage, day in and day out, year after year. Of course, this doesn’t diminish the horror and carnage of the New Year, but it would clearly be a mistake to think that road travel during the rest of the year is any safer. Some traffic authorities have claimed success for the most recent New Year figures, saying that deaths were down by 11.5% and the accident count being reduced by 2%. Credit was given for this accomplishment to strict law enforcement with arrests for dangerous driving and traffic-law offences sharply increased. Dr. Thanapong Jinvong of the Road Safety Policy

Foundation said authorities had progressed in the right direction to promote road safety by strictly enforcing traffic laws. However Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha said he isn’t satisfied with the statistics for injuries and deaths from traffic accidents during the New Year holiday, acknowledging figures were still high despite the best efforts of all involved. 1,971,476,467 THB is the estimated economic annual loss to the nation (WHO). Road deaths per 100,000 for other ASEAN countries rates shows Singapore as 3.6, Philippines 10.5, Laos 14.3, Indonesia 15.3, Cambodia 17.4, Myanmar 20.3 and Vietnam 24.5. Thailand languishes with a rate of 36.2 compared with the world average of 17.4.

Some New Year 2017/18 7 Day Statistics

  • 423 deaths and 4,005 injuries resulted from 3,841 accidents
  • 43.66% of fatal road accidents involved drink driving
  • 25.23% of fatal road accidents involved speeding.
  • 78.91% of the vehicles involved in accidents were motorcycles
  • 730,769 vehicles were checked by authorities.
  • 124,034 drivers were detained and fined; 36,487 out of them
    for no helmet, 31,721 for no driving licences.
  • 83% of the victims were vulnerable road users (pedestrians,
    cyclists and motorcyclists).
  • 245,356 people were prosecuted for driving dangerously, 1 41,327 on motorcycles.
  • 6,326 vehicles were seized, of which 4,823 were motorcycles.
  • 38,190 driving licences were confiscated. Editor’s Note: Thankfully stricter road safety enforcement has reduced road deaths over the recent 7 day New Year period.

    However there is an obvious need for this level of enforcement throughout the year, not just New Year and the next ‘7 Dangerous Days’ blitz anticipated during Songkran in April. Apart from reducing deaths on any given day; everyday enforcement is a necessary step to convince drivers that long-term behavioural change is necessary.