The Transport Ministry announced the comprehensive road safety plan in a bid to reduce the road toll – the world’s second highest per capita – and stem an estimated B200 billion in annual economic losses.
Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning director Chaiwat Tongkamkoon said the plan was drawn up in collaboration with related agencies and will be implemented between now and next year.
Mr Chaiwat said the plan focuses on five measures: managing traffic information and accidents; improving road design; raising vehicle safety standards; encouraging road users to drive safely; and enhancing emergency responses.
Existing transport safety centres will become coordination and management centres to share information about road accidents. They will be tasked with formulating policies to address road safety.
Crash investigators will be assigned to examine areas which are prone to deadly accidents and determine the causes.
Road designs will be examined and improved to enhance safety. This includes rest areas for trucks and buses, installation of safety barriers and improving railway crossings.
Inter-provincial passenger vans will be equipped with cameras, speed monitoring devices and an anti-distraction system. Child car seats will be made mandatory and motorcycles will be equipped with speed limiters.
Varying speed limits will be imposed on urban roads, rural roads, highways and express-ways. Local administration organisations will determine speed limits in areas under their jurisdictions.
Operators of the passenger buses and vans will also be asked to buy additional insurance to cover road accident victims. A co-payment system is likely to be introduced to ensure the operators’ cooperation.
Mr Chaiwat said there were 69,371 road accidents last year, a 10 per cent increase from the year before. A total of 6,268 people were killed and 18,160 injured.
Speed is the top cause of road accidents, accounting for 72.7% of all crashes, followed by changing lanes in an unsafe manner (8.89%) and driver fatigue (4.98%).
The top three roads with most accidents are Highway 338 (Arun Amarin-Phutthamonthon Soi 4) with 412, Rangsit-Wat Naboon Rd with 197, and Highway 1 (Thupateme-Khlong Luang) with 175.
According to the latest World Health Organisation survey, Thailand has the second-highest number of road deaths per capita. The country also has the highest motorcycle death rate, with 26.3 killed from every 100,000 people.
On average, between one and two people are killed every hour. The economic damage is estimated at B200 billion a year, or about 1.7% of GDP.
The plan was unveiled after Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith revealed last week the government was planning tougher drink-driving laws.
Read original story here.