Figures from state hospitals in Phuket show that in 2008 there were 13,840 injuries and 136 deaths resulting from road accidents. Actual figures are significantly higher, as admissions to Phuket’s three private hospitals are not included.
There are three basic causes of road accidents: road conditions, vehicle condition and driver behavior. Phuket has 297,645 registered vehicles, of which 208,183 are motorcycles. This equates to roughly one vehicle per island resident, the highest rate of vehicle ownership of all the provinces in Thailand.
This is a main reason there are about 34 road accident injuries daily and about 15 deaths each month, according to Col Chalit.
The Phuket Provincial Police Traffic Center, launched in August 2008, is located in the Phuket Provincial Police Station and employs 15 police officers. They are tasked with collecting and analyzing road accident data to find ways to stem the carnage.
A large number of accidents occur at intersections where failure to stop at red lights is a major cause. Aggressive driving at intersections without stop lights is another common cause, Col Chalit said.
Police at Phuket Provincial Police Traffic Center are working to reduce these kinds of accidents by analyzing where and when they most frequently occur.
Phuket Police have increased the number of CCTV monitors, set up traffic light countdown displays together with traffic lights at seven new locations, co-ordinated with local government to have “cat’s eyes” planted into roads and set up blinking warning lights near U-turns and exits to small streets.
“The police approach to solving the problems is to use a method that fits with the danger spot, rather than casting a wide net, since every place is different. Phuket is a world-class tourist destination and Phuket police naturally don’t want to let tourists from all over the world come and lose their lives here,” Col Chalit added.
— Manager Online
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