Prayut says government wants to cut Thailand’s road deaths by 2 thirds

Thailand’s PM Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday announced another major goal in reducing Thailand’s infamous problem with road deaths. At a Bangkok forum titled “New Decade, New Normal, Safe Driving Is Priority”, Prayut said the government aims to cut the number of road deaths by almost 2 thirds by 2027.

Thailand has the ninth highest road death rate in the world, with 32.7 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the World Health Organisation. Thailand’s target for 2027 is to cut this number to 12 people per 100,000. The so-called “Vision Zero” goal for 2050 is to completely eliminate traffic fatalities, and severe injuries.

Vision Zero strategy first started in Sweden, but who knows if a developing country like Thailand will be able to achieve anything close to this goal. PM Prayut says the 2050 goal will be hard to achieve, but claims it’s possible if everyone cooperates.

“Of course, I know the problem and how to solve it. But it won’t work 100% because of a lack of public cooperation.”

The Thai Health Promotion Foundation found that 2 people were killed in road accidents every hour in Thailand in 2020. The total number of people killed in road accidents throughout that year was 17,831. The foundation, Thai Health Promotion Foundation, said motorcycle drivers and riders made up the 74% of fatalities.

In January, one road death made headlines across Thailand when a motorcycle hit and killed an eye doctor at a zebra crossing in Bangkok. After the incident, a health organisation and a road safety organisation teamed up to study how many cars, motorbikes, and public vehicles stop for pedestrians at 12 zebra crossings in Bangkok. They found that altogether, 89% wouldn’t stop. For motorcycles, the rate was 92% of 6,449 motorcycles that wouldn’t stop. For cars, the rate was 86% of 7,619. For public vehicles it was 80% of 285.

One point of optimism is, Songkran road deaths reportedly went down by 20% this year from last year, between April 11-17 (aka. Seven Deadly Days). The first 4 days saw 1,195 road accidents, with 157 deaths, and 1,185 people injured. Last year there were 1,795 road accidents, with 192 people killed, and 1,818 injured, during the same 4 days.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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