Despite having access to tons of data, the Thai Government, including the Royal Thai Police, do the same stupid shit every year. They set up checkpoints at major intersections (in Khon Kaen near Central Plaza) and sit around and drink coffee and read the newspaper and occasionally fine someone for not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle.
The checkpoints do publish lots of big numbers showing that many Thais have a total disregard for the law since they drive drunk, with no license, and don’t wear seat belts. Why? Well, they know they can just pay a small fine and be on their way.
The first issue is that the Thai Government is more concerned about image so they post numbers way lower than reality. Last year the Thai Government claimed there were 14,059 while WHO says it is more like 24,237. Just a slight difference. Thai Government says 38 per day while WHO says 66. Others say 70-80 per day. That is why it is so ludicrous when they do the Seven Dangerous Days with about 50 road deaths per day.
The WHO estimate puts Thailand with 36 road deaths per 100,000 and either #2 or #3 depending on who is reporting. Technically, Thailand is #1 since the two countries ahead of them are Libya and Iraq – both war-torn countries.
As I said earlier, the Thai Government has tons of data but fails to act on it. They know that most road deaths are males, 18-30, drunk, on a motorcycle, no helmet, secondary roads, between 1600 and 2000 hours.
But, they don’t try to counter the problems. Why no shuttles? Why not ban motorcycles? Why not subsidize taxis to give free rides? Why not a Designated Driver program? Why not impound vehicles?
Coming up with catchy campaign names like “Zero-Death New Year Project” doesn’t solve the road death problems. Dancing Royal Thai Police doesn’t do it either.
Nor does what the Ministry of Interior have in mind do much to save lives:
Administration Center for Road Safety has set measures for those agencies and provincial authorities to implement, including the measure to enforce the law strictly and continuously to prevent and reduce risks by careless travelers and the measure to fix problems in the areas where accidents may have frequently occurred
Measures to implement? Enforce the law? Isn’t this being done daily? Reduce risks by careless travelers? How? Fix problems where there are lots of accidents? How but just fixing the potholes in the roads?
The Ministry of Public Health is just as clueless:
more effective prevention measures against road accidents must be put in place, with a focus on creating a better management system, instilling discipline in motorists and establishing proactive coordination among related agencies. In parallel with the improvement of emergency medical services, officials in each province will need to report at least five dangerous spots for drivers in their area every three months.
I wonder what the effective prevention measures are and why they haven’t already been put in place. OOOOOOOHHHHH! A better management system – that should save lives. Instilling discipline? Great idea but won’t happen. And, the kicker – proactive coordination among related agencies – yeah – that should cut the number of road deaths down. The best for last – Thai Government in each province reports 5 dangerous spots every 3 months. And, then what? Nothing.
One thing is for certain. During the Seven Dangerous Days of New Year there will be way too many road deaths and the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Public Health, along with the Royal Thai Police will be partially responsible and should suffer the consequences.
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