Road traffic injuries can be prevented. Governments need to take action to address road safety in a holisticmanner. This requires involvement from multiple sectors such as transport, police, health, education, and actions that address the safety of roads, vehicles, and road users.
Effective interventions include designing safer infrastructure and incorporating road safety features into land-use and transport planning, improving the safety features of vehicles, improving post-crash care for victims of road crashes, setting and enforcing laws relating to key risks, and raising public awareness.
What does road safety really entail? – a lot more than just “driving”.
In fact the Safe System offers a guide of 5 “E”s of road safety
For over 3 decades Thailand has had various “Road Safety Action Plans” and has espoused the virtues of the 5 “E”s (it has to be said with little effect) ............... but without them, Road Safety is doomed.
This is fairly self-explanatory - people need to be told/shown how to drive and given the “tools” to share the road with other users - UK had several government TV campaigns in the 60s and 70s. Clever well thought out ads with a bit of humour that weren’t condescending and helped to establish the country as a safe place to drive. (Do you remember the elephant in the fog?).
The first people to educate in Thailand would be the police.
Again self-explanatory - but Thailand has the added problem of ingrained corruption, graft and briber which impedes this no matter how many laws are passed. The laws need to be reasonable applicable and equitably enforced too.
3. Engineering: - most critics of (Thai) road safety usually ignore this aspect of road safety. It falls into 2 categories ….
A - Vehicle engineering - Safer car design and engineering: - car safety is both “passive” (seat belts, airbags and construction etc.) and “Active” (braking steering, handling, traction control etc.) these two are really interdependent now with so much computerised and hi-tech features on modern vehicles.
• Anti-locking brakes
• Traction control
• Side impact bars
• More reliable engine, tyres and components
• Vehicle dynamics in general (vary from UK and Thailand)
Of course roadworthiness checks are vital - but totally unenforced in Thailand.
B - Road Engineering -
The design and construction on the roads, bridges, junction, road surface, camber, drainage etc.
• The use of barriers (e.g. Armco), the removal of roadside hazards - e.g. trees or boulders on the side and centre of roads. The clearing of billboards and vegetation that obscure drivers’ vision
• Traffic - the use of lines, signs, bollards etc. etc. to dictate how and where the traffic flows and at what speed - virtually non-excitant in Thailand and seldom noticed by drivers in countries that make good use of it.
• The use of barriers (e.g. Armco), the removal of trees from the side and centre of roads. The clearing of billboards and vegetation that obscure drivers’ vision.
• Better infrastructure and engineering
• Better road surfaces
• Better signage
• More forgiving
• Traffic calming
• Shared space - keeping various road users apart is key to safety in some situations - if they are separated they can’t collide.
Like so many things on the roads in Thailand, the only reason that U-Turns happen is because the roads ALLOW it.... this is an engineering problem (and cost), not so much a driver problem.
- What happens in the event of injury... this is a major factor in who lives or dies.
It has been well documented that the time between accident and getting treatment is crucial in the survival of RTI victims.
Treatment on the scene and reducing the time it takes to get the patient to hospital is vital. Thailand still has NO EFECTIVE UNIVERSAL EMERGENCY SERVICE!! Ambulances have no standard equipment levels and what comes to your aid at an accident could be anything from a boy-racer pickup truck trough van to a partially equpement ambulance. Paramedics ae seldom fully trained.
- How do we ascertain if measures are effective and what new ideas can be implemented.
Most governments have agencies of some sort that after engaging any road scheme, whether it is construction or a safety campaign, review in detail every aspect of that project; effects on local population, environment, accident statistics etc. etc. Statistics are gathered and monitored and appropriate action taken. - Whereas Thailand may nominally have such bodies their effectiveness is just about zero. Road safety in Thailand is left largely to ill-thought out, baseless pronouncements made by members of the government with little better to do. Statistics collected in Thailand are incomplete, amateurish and don’t eve correlate with international conventions.