Thailand has the unenviable reputation for being one of the most dangerous countries with regard to road transport. A new report shows that 17,831 people died in road crashes in Thailand in 2020.
According to the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, users of powered two wheelers comprise the majority of road deaths and road injuries in Thailand. The figures show that 74% of the 17,831 people killed on Thailand’s roads in 2020 were riding on powered two wheelers at the time of each crash.
One of the issues is that powered two wheeler riders in Thailand use helmets infrequently. A 2021 report from the International Health Policy Program suggested that if those riding pillion on powered two wheelers were to use crash helmets, the fatality rate would be reduced by 36%.
Poor enforcement of road traffic regulations is said to be a factor in Thailand’s high annual road fatality rate. Driving under the influence of drink or drugs is a common factor in serious crashes, as are speeding and poor anticipation of potential hazards by road users.
Thailand’s capital Bangkok itself has the unenviable reputation of being one of the world’s most traffic-congested cities, as well as having amongst the highest rate of road fatalities/head of population.
A new approach by the Road Safety Operation Centre (RSOC) in Thailand is expected to help lower the casualty rate. In 2018, Thailand saw a shocking 32.7 deaths/100,000 of population, compared with just 2.6 road deaths/100,000 of population in Sweden, one of the world’s safest countries for road transport. The new RSOC system is intended to reduce Thailand’s horrific road fatality rate to 12/100,000 of population by 2027.