The Thai Government is aiming to cut the country’s horrifically high rate of road deaths. The target is to cut road deaths to around a third of the current annual rate over a five year period. Addressing driving under the influence (DUI) of drink or drugs will be a key part of the plan.
The prioritisation of the road safety programme forms part of Thailand’s 20-year National Strategy. The aim is to cut road deaths from the current rate of 32.7/100,000 of population to 12/100,000 of population by 2027.
Data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) reveals Thailand to be amongst the worst countries in the world for road safety. Speeding and DUI are major causes of crashes in Thailand.
The young are at particular risk, with an average of 59 people aged 15-19 being injured/day in powered two wheeler crashes on Thailand’s roads. While there have been campaigns to encourage powered two wheeler riders to use helmets, many still do not use them. However, the country’s road safety problem is getting worse and road deaths caused by speeding have also seen an increase of 4%.
Changes will have to be made as Thailand is legalising the growth of cannabis for personal use. A law will be required to prevent drivers of public transport vehicles as well as private vehicles from smoking (or otherwise consuming) cannabis before they get behind the wheel. There are concerns that DUI from cannabis use could become more prevalent than now. Since cannabis use was legalised in certain US states, there has been an increase in crashes involving drivers under the influence of the drug. Drink driving is already a serious problem in Thailand and the prospect of a further increase in drugged driving would negate any attempts to reduce the country’s extremely high annual road death toll.