WHO report warns expats Thailand roads are still deadly

Published:  21 Dec at 6 PM
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Tagged: Thailand
The latest report issued by the World Health Organisation indicates the popular Southeast Asian expat and tourism hub is still plagued by a lack of effective road safety measures.

Whilst this year’s rate of 32.7 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants is slightly lower by around four percent than last year’s totals, Thailand’s notorious road deaths are the highest in the whole of Southeast Asia. The WHO report, published on Friday and covering 175 world countries, estimates that the annual death toll on Thailand’s roads averages 22,491 victims. In the rest of Southeast Asia, Vietnam’s road death rate came in at 26.4, averaging over six fewer fatalities per 100,000 than Thailand, with Malaysia’s rate lower at 23.6.

In the region, Singapore is the safest country with a death rate per 100,000 of just 2.8. As regards the ten most dangerous countries for death on the roads aside from Thailand, the tiny island of St Lucia and Venezuela, the rest are all sub-Saharan African states. Expats, especially retirees, are regularly warned to take care when driving as well as when crossing the crowded roads in Thai cities, but the majority of deaths involve motorcyclists driving without due care and attention and, crucially, not wearing helmets.

It’s not uncommon to see a Honda Dream loaded up with two adults and at least one child, none of whom are protected, and careless driving combined with poor vehicle maintenance is another cause of multiple deaths involving tourist coaches and intercity buses on poor roads. Death tolls invariably spike during national holidays, especially in April’s Songkran festival, during which excess alcohol plays a part in the soaring numbers of deaths and injuries.
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