Thailand is known for its vibrant culture, beautiful beaches, and exotic cuisine. But it is also notorious for its high death rate on the roads, especially during the New Year holiday period. According to the latest statistics, Thailand recorded 128 fatalities and 1,151 injuries from 1,150 traffic accidents during the final three days of 2024¹. This makes Thailand the country with the highest death rate on New Years 2024, surpassing other countries with larger populations and more vehicles.
What are the causes of the high death rate?
The main causes of the high death rate on the roads in Thailand are speeding, drunk driving, and motorcycle riding. According to the deputy national police chief, Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, speeding accounted for 37% of the accidents, followed by drunk driving with 33%¹. Motorcycles were involved in 87% of all accidents, making them the most dangerous mode of transport¹.
Other factors that contribute to the high death rate include poor road conditions, lack of law enforcement, and cultural norms. Many roads in Thailand are poorly maintained, poorly lit, and poorly marked, creating hazards for drivers and pedestrians. The law enforcement is often lax, allowing drivers to get away with traffic violations, such as driving without a license, helmet, or seat belt. The cultural norms also encourage risk-taking behavior, such as racing, overtaking, and ignoring traffic rules.
What are the consequences of the high death rate?
The high death rate on the roads in Thailand has serious consequences for the society, the economy, and the environment. Society suffers from the loss of lives, the grief of families, and the burden of health care. The economy suffers from the loss of productivity, the damage of property, and the cost of compensation. The environment suffers from the pollution, the noise, and the waste of resources.
According to the World Health Organization, an average of 60 people die on Thailand’s roads every day of the year. This translates to about 22,000 deaths and 1.2 million injuries per year. The economic cost of road traffic injuries in Thailand is estimated at 3% of its gross domestic product, or about US$ 15 billion per year.
What are the solutions to the high death rate?
The solutions to the high death rate on the roads in Thailand require the cooperation of the government, the private sector, and the public. The government needs to improve the road infrastructure, strengthen the law enforcement, and raise public awareness. The private sector needs to provide safer vehicles, promote responsible driving, and support social campaigns. The public needs to follow the traffic rules, avoid alcohol and drugs, and wear protective gear.
Some of the initiatives that have been implemented or proposed to reduce the road fatalities in Thailand include the following:
- The Road Safety Directing Center, which coordinates the efforts of various agencies to prevent and respond to road accidents.
- The Safe Driving Campaign, which encourages drivers to sign a pledge to drive safely and refrain from drink driving.
- The Helmet Vaccine Initiative, which distributes free helmets to children and educates them about the importance of wearing them.
- The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, which aims to save millions of lives by implementing the global road safety targets and the United Nations resolutions.
Thailand has the highest death rate on New Years 2024, but it also has the potential to reduce it significantly. By addressing the causes, consequences, and solutions of the road safety problem, Thailand can make its roads safer for everyone and celebrate the New Year with joy and peace.