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Chiang Mai

Halving Thailand’s road toll by 2020 – The impossible dream

The Thaiger

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Halving Thailand’s road toll by 2020 – The impossible dream | The Thaiger

“The WHO report points out that progress has been made in certain areas, such as legislation. But it has not been fast enough to meet the UN goal of halving road traffic deaths between 2016 and 2020.”

Thailand draws world attention for its amazing scenery, vibrant foodie scene, raunchy nightlife and local festivals. It also draws attention for all the wrong reasons – mostly its infamous death toll on the roads.

CNN has done a special report about Thialand’s road carnage and looks into the reasons the Land of Smiles continues to rank in the WHO (World Health Organisation) Top 10 most dangerous places in the world to drive.

The article says that driving in Thailand can be a hair-raising experience at the best of times, but during the country’s so-called “seven dangerous days” over the New Year holiday motorists take their lives in their hands.

“Efforts to crack down on the causes of those crashes – drunk driving, corrupt cops and general weak enforcement of traffic laws – have so far proved ineffective. Between December 27 and January 2, a total of 463 people died in 3,791 traffic accidents, pretty much on par with last year’s 423 deaths, according to the country’s Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.”

The WHO estimates 22,941 people die each year in traffic-related incidents in Thailand, making its roads the deadliest in Southeast Asia and ninth most dangerous, per capita, in the world.

“That’s an average of 62 deaths every day, according to the WHO’s 2018 report on global road safety — just slightly fewer than the average deaths over the New Year period of 66 per day.”

The article notes that the vast majority of those deaths – 73% – are riders of motorcycles. Once this year’s Seven Days of Danger numbers were tallied up this week, the percentage for motorcycle deaths was 80% of the total toll.

Two main issues drive the horrendous and shameful toll – drink driving and speed. The statistics for these two main causes dominate the deaths everywhere in the country.

Sadly, many Thais still think nothing of having a night out with friends or a few beers after work and then jumping on their motorbike or into their car and driving. The lack of responsibility in this area remains breathtaking for many foreigners who have been educated over the past two generations to view drink driving as an avoidable social problem. Poor education in the use of alcohol within families and communities drives the high domestic violence numbers as well as the drink driving statistics.

These local habits are often picked up by expats and tourists accounting for plenty of additional deaths outside the local population.

Speed, coupled with some poor roads and a lack of driver education and training, also fuels the numbers. Until the last few years, a speed limit sign was a rare sight on Thai roads. That is changing but CNN notes that enforcement of those speed limits and road rules remains a challenge.

“The Interior Ministry’s Road Safety Thailand unit said the majority of deaths during this New Year period (41.5%) were caused by drunk driving and 28% by speeding. The northern province of Chiang Mai, which reported the second largest number of incidents this New Year period, with 16 deaths, is a case in point.”

In many areas of Chiang Mai, like most other provinces, it seems the traffic stops and checkpoints remain more about making money than road safety. CNN reports that is common to see drivers in Chiang Mai being stopped by police for failing to produce a driving license or wear a helmet, only to jump back on their bikes and drive away once they’ve paid a “fine”.

Read the rest of the CNN special article on the Thai road toll HERE.



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Chiang Mai. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Air Pollution

Chiang Mai ‘s tourism holds up despite smoke and smog

The Thaiger

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Chiang Mai ‘s tourism holds up despite smoke and smog | The Thaiger

Chiang Mai’s current poor air quality and smoke haze is raising concerns on the potential impact on tourism as Thailand’s Songkran water festival approaches.

Smog has been a yearly occurrence in Northern Thailand, but this year the situation appears to be the worst with Chiang Mai topping the air pollution ranking and the media tracking daily results.

But La-iad Bungsrithong, president of the Thai Hotels Association (Northern Chapter), says there appears to be a short-term decline in the market.

However, she attributes the current performance to March being part of the traditional low season rather than the pollution, adding that there has been no booking cancellation from leisure or MICE guests.

The Songkran festival typically sees leisure demand for Chiang Mai from South-east Asia, Europe, China and Thailand. According to La-iad, room occupancy in April last year was 65 per cent, reaching 85 per cent during the Songkran period (April 12-14).

She expects similar figures for Songkran this year but also greater competition arising from new hotels around Chiang Mai and Airbnb.

Similarly, a spokesperson of Standard tour, Somchai Sandnee, said the company’s business has not been affected by the air pollution. Chinese tourists are less perturbed by smog issues than political turmoil and recent events such as the boat accident in Phuket last year, Somchai pointed out.

Chotechuang Soorangura, associate managing director of NS Travel & Tours, also says he doesn’t see the smog having an impact on sales.

“The smog is considered an annual situation and our company always (issues) an advice to customers. In the case where customers really want to visit Chiang Mai, we will suggest they limit their stays in the city in favour of other provinces instead such as Sukhothai,” Chotechuang explained.

SOURCE: ttgasia.com

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Bangkok

Summer storms on the way for north, north-east

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Summer storms on the way for north, north-east | The Thaiger

FILE PHOTO

People living in the north of Thailand are being warned to brace themselves for some summer thunderstorms until Wednesday. The Meteorological Department issued an alert today saying the storms will be caused by a high-pressure system from China that will interact with the hot weather over upper Thailand.

Outbreaks of summer thunderstorms will be likely from today to March 27. Thundershowers, gusty winds and hail are possible first in the Northeast and the East then the Central, and the North region.

Are you affected?

March 23-24

North: Kamphaengphet, Phitsanulok, Phichit and Phetchabun.

Northeast: Nong Bua Lamphu, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom, Udon Thani, Buri Ram, Surin, Si Sa Ket and Ubon Ratchathani.

Central: Nakhon Sawan, Chai Nat, Lop Buri and Saraburi.East: Nakhon Nayok, Prachin Buri, Sa Kaeo and Chachoengsao.

March 25-27

North: Kamphaengphet, Phitsanulok, Phichit and Phetchabun.

Northeast: Nong Bua Lamphu, Udon Thani, Khon Kaen, Loei, Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buri Ram, Surin, Si Sa Ket and Ubon Ratchathani.

Central: Uthai Thani, Nakhon Sawan, Chai Nat, Lop Buri, Saraburi and Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya including Bangkok and its vicinity.

East: Nakhon Nayok, Prachin Buri, Sa Kaeo and Chachoengsoa.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Air Pollution

Hazardous: Chiang Mai again leads the world in air pollution

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Hazardous: Chiang Mai again leads the world in air pollution | The Thaiger

Chiang Mai is back on top of the world’s list of most air-polluted cities, according to the AirVisual.com website.

AirVisual reports at 1.45pm that the air quality index (AQI) of Chiang Mai on Saturday stands at 471 (##!!??!!) , much higher than the 100 AQI safety standard (the WHO lists the safety limit as 50 on the AQI scale). It’s been about 350 all day today.

In its six scale listings Chiang Mai is now listed at the bottom as ‘Hazardous’, the scale doesn’t go any lower.

The northern capital has been covered with white, mostly bushfire smoke and smog, for almost two weeks prompting Chiang Mai residents to wear N95 air-filter marks outdoors. Or stay indoors.

The Chiang Mai University, the Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna and Chiang Mai provincial administration confirmed that the air quality in the city remained critical.

Hazardous: Chiang Mai again leads the world in air pollution | News by The Thaiger

 

 

 

 

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