The news follows a two-day World Health Organisation – Southeast Asia Ministerial Meeting held at the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort & Spa in Karon yesterday and today (Nov 29-Dec 1) titled “On Accelerating Actions for Implementation of Decade of Action for Road Safety”.
“Thailand is Number 2 in the world for the number road accident fatalities,” admitted Dr Suppakij Siriluck, Inspector General of the Ministry of Public Health, reported Manager Online. (See story here.)
Thailand suffered 22,356 deaths from road accidents last year, Dr Suppakij noted.
Sixty per cent of road accident victims die at the scene, he added.
“Three in four of road fatalities in Thailand were male. Most road accident victims were 25 to 29 years old,” he said.
About 500 people were disabled in road accidents each year, while 42 families lose a family member each day to the carnage, Dr Suppakij added.
Also, about 25 new families each day have to care for a family member who became disabled from road accidents.
“The carnage costs the country an estimated more than B200 billion per year,” he said.
Dr Supreeda Adulyanon, Manager of the Thai Health Promotion Foundation Fund (known by its Thai initials SorSorSor) pointed out that one in three accidents involved alcohol.
“Phuket used to be in the top five in the country for number of deaths in road accidents, with about 200-400 deaths per year,” Dr Supreeda told ThaiPBS in a video interview. (See here.)
“In the past 10 years the number of deaths in Phuket has halved. The number has decreased because of [efforts] targeting risk areas and by working with local rescue workers and medical staff. Also, there has been stronger law enforcement and campaigns targeting helmet use,” Dr Supreeda said.
To help raise awareness of the deadly cost of road accidents plaguing the country, police set up a checkpoint at the intersection of Kwang Rd and Chao Fa West Rd, which is one of five intersections in Phuket where special safety traffic cameras have been installed. (See story here.)
Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Teeraphol Thipjaroen told ThaiPBS, “As you can see, Phuket is using technology [to reduce the number ofaccidents]. We can see that it works, but it does not solve the problem 100%”
The problem is that only 20-25% of the the tickets issued automatically by the special cameras set up at the five intersections are being paid, Gen Teeraphol said, repeating what he reported to The Phuket News in earlier this year. (See story here.)
“But more than 10,000 tickets have been issued,” he said.
“The law has to be changed. Law enforcement is not enough to make people pay the tickets. Now we are pushing to change some parts of the law,” he said.
However, Gen Teeraphol did not explain why police were powerless in enforcing a simple traffic ticket.