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Road deaths

Thailand road accidents cost 500 billion baht per year

Neill Fronde



PHOTO: Thailand - the most dangerous roads in Asia?

Thailand is notorious for its road and driving conditions, and a disproportionate number of driving accidents. The World Health Organisation now reports that road accidents cost an estimated 500 billion baht in 2019 alone. The WHO report placed Thailand as the number one country in ASEAN with a 32.7 per cent death rate, the highest in Southeast Asia. The Road Accident Victims Protection Co explains that the WHO calculates the financial damages of driving deaths in different countries around the world. Thailand’s 500 billion baht loss amounts to about 3 per cent of the country’s entire 2019 gross domestic product of 16.87 trillion baht.

By analyzing statistics and making projections about road deaths from 2021 to 2027, the estimates during the next 6 years that Thailand is facing an average of about 15,400 deaths per year in the best case, and looking a worst case scenario of over 18,600 deaths per year in traffic accidents. Adding an extra depressing edge to this gruesome statistic, the report shows that nearly 40% of those killed in traffic accidents are the heads of households. With the loss of the family head, an average of 2.43 people per death lose the support of their primary family earner, putting them in peril. The death of younger household leaders, and other untimely and unnatural deaths also may contribute in the longterm to a disparity in an aging population.

2020 saw a strong drop in road accidents and deaths, from 22,000 in 2019 to just under 18,000 fatalities, though this drop is mainly due to the national lockdown in April and general decrease in travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic. If Covid-19 improves in the coming month and the country springs back to life, the number of deaths are likely to spring back as well. Estimates show that road fatalities could return to 19,000-20,000 in all of 2021, which is about 1 death every 26 minutes. Worldwide about 317,000 people die in driving accidents every year, or about 1 every 23 seconds.

SOURCE: The Nation Thailand


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  1. Avatar


    Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    Shocking, people drive too fast and too close to the car in front, I once had a driver from BKK who was watching a movie whilst he was driving!

  2. Avatar


    Monday, April 12, 2021 at 2:25 am

    How come this is not a top priority for the government? The cost is astronomic at all levels. Start by spliting the roads for car and motorbikes

  3. Avatar


    Monday, April 12, 2021 at 4:27 am

    This has been known for about 20 years.

    All that ever happens is smart-arse foreigners tell us much better at driving then Thai people they are.

    This is symptomatic of the total disregard for road safety science that has lead to this dreadful situation.

    Thais are no worse drivers than anywhere else in the world – what the “fabulous” foreign drivers fail to realise is that their own governments for years have been building safety into their driving environment for years- It prevents idiots from being idoiots – only the foreigners are too stupid to undersad this… are successive Thai governments – its what you get with unelected leaders is uneducated leaders who are incapable of understanding even the basics of road safety.

    So remember while you are posting you latest anecdote about “bad driving” – it isn’t the root of th problem and you like the Thai authorities imply haven’t get a clue wen it comes to road safety

  4. Avatar

    funny coz its true

    Monday, April 12, 2021 at 7:47 am

    putting the speed limits up to 120kmph should keep that down, rolls eyes and shakes head. Insanity

  5. Avatar

    Stone Cold

    Monday, April 12, 2021 at 8:31 am

    LondonAI; You once had a driver from BKK who was watching a movie whilst he was driving?! That must have been awkward.

  6. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Monday, April 12, 2021 at 9:53 am

    “Thais are no worse drivers than anywhere else in the world”

    Get real, @Wilko. Why else do they have more accidents than other countries?

    It’s nothing to do with the “driving environment” or “building safety” into the roads. Look at Africa, and other countries across Asia (Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan) with undeveloped road systems with far more dangerous roads and far fewer accidents.

    Thais just drive badly – end of story.

  7. Avatar


    Monday, April 12, 2021 at 10:27 am

    10 million don’t have drivers license, it makes many dangerous situation when people don’t know the roles, and you can never be sure if your fellow in traffic know when to stop or go.

    Motorcyclist don’t want to spend 50฿ on a rear light, for what use?! I can see clearly, and if people can’t see me, I dismantle my extortion pipe, then they can hear me instead.

    But if it’s raining, dark, sitting inside a car, whit another car whit good light comming towards you! You have absolutely no chance to see (or hear) the poor suicide candidate

  8. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Monday, April 12, 2021 at 11:35 am

    wilko your post is a laugh a minute.
    For instance, you write: It prevent idiots becoming idoiots. Does that mean idoits are a worse type of idiot?
    Or am I the foreigner that is too stupid to undersad this?
    It is true that foreigners have been building safety into their own driving environment for years, by catching bad drivers, fining them, in some cases jailing them.
    This works, but in Thailand just stand by traffic lights and watch dozens go through on red every hour.
    wilko, post again your posts are most entertaining.
    How hard would it for the police to stop that, but they do not.

  9. Avatar


    Monday, April 12, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    @wilko the main idiot is actually you, you’ve just written a long post which says absolutely nothing, just like what is in your head: nothing.

  10. Avatar

    David Mann

    Monday, April 12, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    It seems safe to assume Wilko is a Thai as he distances himself from foreigners? The comments made perfectly demonstrate why the road deaths in Thailand are so high. With that level of analytical thinking and problem solving on display, there is the answer for 65 deaths/day. Most first time visitors to Thailand have worked out why road deaths are so high in the time it takes to get from the airport to the hotel. We all know what they are (no particular order):
    Driving too close to the car in front.
    Switching lanes and cutting in.
    Failure to yield or give way.
    “Road sense” which is anticipating dangers ahead.
    Poorly maintained vehicles.
    Overloaded pick up trucks.
    Drink and/or drug driving.
    Driving on the wrong side of the road.
    No lights on bikes or sometime 18wheel trucks!
    Failure to stop at intersections.
    And finally … belief that there is a next life and hence devaluing this one.

    And yet Wilko thinks it’s extra lane markings and smooth roads. Sure, they, along with better lighting of roads will help. But it will reduce deaths from 65/day to perhaps 62/day. Sort out my list and you will get it from 65 to 7/day. It’s really not difficult if you want to try.

  11. Avatar


    Monday, April 12, 2021 at 4:21 pm

    Exactly David! It isn’t more difficult to do, than it’s to qualify for a Thai driving license.

    The driving test is a joke, and the written test … I hadn’t studied for it, still only missed to questions [both, how many meters from XYZ can you park/stop].

    As its a skill to criticize oneself and to be open to the thought; I might be wrong. Sorry Wilko but people that share your analytical skills, doesn’t make the roads any safer, I hope you do not live in my part of Bkk.

  12. Avatar


    Monday, April 12, 2021 at 10:05 pm

    A retired police officer told me that about 50% of Thai have no drivers licence…interesting because every time they are stopped, they have to hand over 200 Thb…Nice extra income for the police. When I went for my license, I saw Thai who told me they came (by driving their own truck) for the 7th time and didn’t succeed the test. They look more at their phones than at the traffic, they always start to late when the traffic lights turns to “green” because they play on that phone. And when it turns “red” they still go…It is all about education, but if there is no education than there are many Wilko’s…Unfortunately.

  13. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 7:01 am

    The word on the street is that the number of road deaths is vastly under reported.ive been told countless times by thais and foreigners alike that the figures are only those declared dead at the scene and anybody who expires Later at hospital are sure many other people here must have heard this numerous times also.does anybody actually know for certain if this is true or is it just another urban myth?

  14. Avatar


    Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 12:56 pm

    Yes, I believe it’s true. I’ve been driving in Thailand for 30+ years and have driven in numerous other countries and the Thais are without doubt the worst drivers I’ve ever encountered. I can’t see it improving either as you see young schoolkids on their motorbikes and they drive like lunatics. They’ll do the same when they get a car.

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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