THAILAND’s already dismal road safety record sank to new lows over the New Year holiday period as more than 400 people lost their lives in traffic accidents.
In the worst of the incidents, 25 people died on Monday in Chonburi province after a pick-up truck and a minivan collided and burst into flames.
In all, 426 people died on Thailand’s road between Dec 29 and Jan 3, up from 340 in the same period a year earlier.
“Unfortunately the number of fatalities has increased despite a campaign from the government and law enforcement to increase safety,” government spokesman Weerachon Sukondhapatipak told Reuters.
“Road safety is something we will have to continue working on continuously and not just during the new year period.”
Often dubbed the ‘seven days of death’, the New Year period is an annual blot on the country’s already abysmal road safety record.
Last year, the World Health Organization reported that Thailand was second only to Libya in terms of per capita road fatalities with an estimated average of 66 deaths a day in 2012 — about 24,000 in total, far higher than the official figure of 14,059.
Further, up to a million people are thought to be injured on Thailand’s roads each year.
If anything, the situation has deteriorated since 2012. In April last year, 442 people died on Thailand’s roads during the festive Songkran week, the highest death toll in 10 years.
While the current ruling junta inherited this problem, it has failed so far to effectively address the issue despite a number of measures, including increased enforcement, awareness campaigns, and even free food.
So far, it does not appear to be working.
In a typically knee-jerk reaction to the horrific incident in Chonburi, the junta has mooted a ban on minivans, a measure unlikely to have any real impact.
While minivan drivers have a reputation for reckless driving and driving dangerously long distances at a time, they are just a small part of a very large problem.Full Story: https://asiancorrespondent.com/2017/01/ ... lity-rate/