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Phuket motorbike accidents on the rise fueling safety concerns amid tourism revival

Phuket motorbike accidents on the rise fueling safety concerns amid tourism revival

PHUKET: The Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation’s (PPAO, or OrBorJor) emergency patrol team provided assistance to two Thai and two foreign victims of motorcycle accidents on Dec 22 and five Thais and two foreigners on Dec 21, according to two separate PPAO reports published yesterday (Dec 23). Meanwhile, the number of fatalities in Phuket road crashes since Jan 1 has already reached 103 which is 45% more than the death toll for 2021.

accidentsdeathtourismSafety
By The Phuket News

Saturday 24 December 2022, 10:58AM


The newly launched PPAO reports – called ’Summary of Operations of Phuket Tourist Assistance Center (Soon Khaimook, or Pearl Center)’ – cover various emergency situations the center reacts to. Yet most of the cases are road accidents involving motorcycles. And often those vehicles are operated by foreign nationals, according to PPAO reports.

The report for Dec 22, posted on PPAO Facebook page yesterday (Dec 23) includes three motorcycle accidents among four cases in total, namely:

  1. Chalong. 7.08am. Collision of two motorbikes in front of PTT Chalong gas station. One Thai national (female) injured.
  2. Chalong. 11.51am. Motorcycle crash at Chok Thip Villa. Two foreigners (male and female) injured. 
  3. Rawai. 7.48pm. Single vehicle motorcycle accident at Soi King Pattana 8. One Thai national injured (female). 

The report for Dec 21, also posted on Dec 23, includes five motorcycle accidents as follows:

  1. Chalong. 8.31am. Motorcycle accident in front of Global House. Two Thai nationals (male and female) injured. 
  2. Rawai. 10.52am. A collision between a car and a motorcycle near the Fisherman Way retail complex. One Thai national injured (male). 
  3. Karon. 3.45pm. A collision between a car and a motorcycle near Golden Sand Karon Hotel. One Thai national injured (female). 
  4. Chalong. 8.26pm. A collision between a car and a motorcycle near Mini Big C shop on Patak Rd. One Thai national injured (male). 
  5. Rawai. 9.09pm. A collision between two motorcycles at a U-turn zone on Wiset Rd in front of Makro Rawai. Two foreigners injured (male and female). 

In most cases the injured were taken to local hospitals, including Chalong Hospital, Mission Hospital, Patong Hospitals, Bangkok Hospital Sirirok (ex Phuket International Hospital). Several victims received first aid at the scene but declined hospital admission as unnecessary.

None of the abovementioned accidents have been reported so far by neither Phuket Provincial Police, Phuket Tourist Police or official news sources such as Phuket Info Center or PR Phuket.

Phuket road carnage

In May 2022, when Thailand was just beginning to reopen to international visitors, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha reiterated the government’s commitment to reduce traffic-related fatalities to 12 per 100,000 people by 2027 and eventually eliminate traffic fatalities by 2050 under Vision Zero, a model inspired by a similar programme in Sweden.

The goal was confirmed by Gen Prayut at an academic seminar in Bangkok titled ’New Decade, New Normal, Safe Driving Is Priority’.

“Of course, I know the problem and how to solve it. But it won’t work 100% because of a lack of public cooperation,” Gen Prayut said at that time.

“I ordered that the law must be strictly enforced against traffic offenders. But I would have liked to seek people’s cooperation first,” he added.

Yet the reality of the country’s comeback to post-coronavirus road ’new normality’ was far from cloudless in terms of safety. Recovering tourism and overall revival in economic activities resulted in significantly more road accidents than in 2021 and 2020.

According to the national Thailand Road Safety Committee (ThaiRSC), it took Phuket only nine months and a half to record 72 deaths in road accidents surpassing the number for the whole year of 2021. 

By Dec 23 the number of road deaths in Phuket accidents reached 103 cases, the number of hospital admissions hit 16,689 cases (compared to 71 deaths and 13,134 hospitalisations for year 2021).

According to ThaiRSC, over 75% Phuket accidents with deaths and hospitalisations involved motorcycles. There were no specifically dangerous days, while in terms of time of day, over 93% serious accidents took place between 6am and 10pm. Accidents at night added only 7%.

Though not numerous, late night accidents could be very resonant such as a high-speed collision in Rawai involving a Ducati motorcycle from Custom Garage rental shop driven by a Russian national. Three people died and two more were injured as a result of that accident.

CBRE Phuket

According to the ThaiRSC, another bizzare feature of Phuket accident scene is a very high percentage of children and teenagers dying or getting injured in vehicle collisions and crashes.

The age group of 1-14 years accounts for nearly 45% of all cases with deaths and hospitalisations. To put it into perspective, those aged 15-24 add only 15%, people aged 25-35 account for 17%.

In clear evidence of how bloody the road carnage in Phuket is, PPAO President Rewat Areerob last week made an urgent call for foreigners to donate Rh negative blood so hospitals can provide required treatment to road accident victims from abroad as most often they are the ones requiring Rh negative blood. 

“The shortage of Rh negative blood is due to the increasing number of foreigners who suffer from accidents in Phuket”, Mr Rewat clearly stated in his appeal on Facebook.

Days of danger coming

The annual ‘Seven Days of Danger’ road-safety campaign for this coming New Year festival will be conducted from Dec 29 through Jan 4. The standard three-stage strategy will be followed this year, 

The so-called ’pre-intensive control period’ should have started on Dec 22 and is scheduled to be running through Dec 28. It will be followed by the actual seven days of anti-accident efforts from Dec 29 through Jan 4 and then the final stage of ’intensive control’ from Jan 5-11.

Among the strategies to be employed by officials to improve road safety, is the prosecution of violators of traffic laws to receive the maximum penalty so that motorists obey traffic laws. This is what was declared at a meeting of the Phuket Provincial Phuket Road Safety Committee at Phuket Provincial Hall on Dec 20. 

In a separate development, deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul announced last week that the Traffic Accident Prevention Policy Committee will apply a new integrated plan to reduce road accidents starting this New Year season. The plan had been prepared by the Road Safety Operation Center. 

Ms Traisuree said that the new plan aims to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries from traffic accidents by at least 5% below the average number calculated from records dating back over the last three years. Yet she failed to mention that the said period had mostly been the time of the COVID-19 pandemic when all the economic activities including transportation of people and goods had been greatly suppressed. 

Regarding the coming New Year festival, the plan will be divided into the following two phases: the pre-holiday phase from Dec 1 to Dec 21 and the holiday phase from Dec 22 to Jan 11, 2023.

According to Ms Traisuree, during the Dec 1-21 phase officials had to prepare road users for the new safety measures through behaviour modification techniques taught in the government’s ’Safe Driving in the New Normal’ campaign.

The control measures should be applied in the current phase, which should be ongoing right now and run through Jan 11. The efforts should include specific measures for reducing traffic risk factors (such as roadworks and public transport control); measures for tackling risk factors caused by individuals (such as drunk driving and riding on motorcycles without a helmet); measures for victims’ assistance (such as medical support and a configuration for emergency medical services).

For local administrations, the plan should include suggestions such as checkpoints and infomercial activities through public address systems and local radio, the deputy spokeswoman said.

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harald | 30 December 2022 - 18:10:30

Kamala i don't need a job there because as a pensioner i get more money than i need. incidentally, I've often been to russia and i also have russian friends there. the best protection so that you don't become a media victim of certain western media. this also applies to china, myanmar etc. so it's clear that I form my own opinion on the spot. 

Kamala Pete | 29 December 2022 - 11:49:04

Harald, why don't you apply for a job with Pravda and move to Moscow?  With your complete disregard for facts and your hatred of anything "western" you should fit in very well there. 

maverick | 29 December 2022 - 11:28:27

without decent scheduled public transport around the island (increasing SMART bus frequency would be a start) this problem is not going away what upsets me is seeing farang couples on a bike with a young child utter madness and only a matter of time before a tragedy strikes 

harald | 29 December 2022 - 10:57:02

according to police officers from different districts here, russians are the best foreign drivers, along with germans and swiss. they almost always wear a helmet and are dressed accordingly on the bike and not just in swimming trunks. they also don't rent bikes that are too overpowered for them. while others are already overwhelmed with a small honda click with just 115 km/h :-D

harald | 29 December 2022 - 10:43:43

it is also no wonder that russians are repeatedly involved in traffic accidents. after all, almost every third tourist in phuket is from russia, who can easily afford a holiday here, while fewer and fewer people from countries that sanction russia can afford it. they become more and more impoverished :-D

JohnC | 25 December 2022 - 09:39:52

Gen prayut's comment about 'knowing the problem and how to fix it but it won't work 100% because of lack of public cooperation' is actually relevent for a change.  You would need 100% of the people to stop riding/driving every type of motorised vehicle to stop the road carnage here. Nothing else will work!

Kurt | 25 December 2022 - 08:42:58

On Phuket a 135cc motorbike can reach a speed of 100kmh. Are they really designed for that?
In many countries are on such motorbikes speed limiters ( 40kmh). Perhaps a idea for Phuket? Sure it will save lives.

Capricornball | 24 December 2022 - 15:51:42

No report of 3 Russians sprawled across the road near Catch Beach "Drink and get on your Motorbike" Club in Bang Tao either, I love the long term death reduction plan that the PM called "Vision Zero", which seems to describe the cause of most accidents involving locals. Agressive and reckless Russian riders are off the charts now, the worst I've ever seen, worse than pre-co...

Thaitourist | 24 December 2022 - 14:11:13

The biggest accident percentage is among those aged 1 - 14 years? I have seen many times these children in traffic, not only do they drive without a helmet but they drive the maximum of what the motorbike can drive. is there no age limit to ride a motobike? I myself have been stopped at some checkpoints along the road, but I have never seen a speed check.

Old guy | 24 December 2022 - 13:25:00

Thailand's medical business makes big money from traffic accidents which explains why there is no real enforcement of traffic laws. When was the last time you saw someone actually stopped at something other than a checkpoint?
Broken and dead bodies are an acceptable way to increase hospital profits 

christysweet | 24 December 2022 - 12:27:20

Better revamp the religious belief that  all is fated and you were meant to kill  or maim  that scooter rider  you were tailgating at 50 mph- who deserved it from some past transgression.  

Fascinated | 24 December 2022 - 11:38:24

BS as usual, there were at least 3 in Kamala yesterday. Lies, lies and more lies.

 

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