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Thailand is facing the likelihood of being named the most dangerous place in the world to drive.
Figures revealed at a meeting of road safety experts showed that the death toll on the nation’s roads jumped dramatically last year.
Experts have pointed the finger at “tens of millions” of lawbreakers on the roads painting a bleak picture of the future as law enforcement and budgets fail to cope with the dangerous behavior of the Thai public.
TNA reported from a meeting in Bangkok on Monday that the death toll in 2016 was 22,356 – that was 2,877 up from the figure for 2015 which was 19,479.
Figures for 2017 were not yet announced but officials were not holding out any hopes of improvement.
The statistics show that the most dangerous place to drive in Thailand is in the east of the country with Rayong the worst province.
Far more men die than women and the group most likely to perish on the roads are aged 15-29.
Statistically the safest place to drive is Bangkok where you would have a quarter of the chance of death compared to Chonburi.
Three out of four deaths are male.
For each 100,000 people the six most dangerous provinces are as follows:
Rayong 72 deaths per 100,000 per year, Sa Kaew 69, Chonburi 58, Chantaburi 57, Nakorn Nayok 56 and Prachinburi 55.
The six provinces with the least deaths per 100,000 are:
Bangkok, 14.3, Yala 17.2, Mae Hong Son 18.2, Satun 18.3, Amnat Charoen 18.4 and Pattani 20.
Some 45% of deaths involve motorcycles, 5% are pedestrians and 1% cyclists.
Provinces where accidents increased the most from 2014 were: Sa Kaew, Lopburi, Nakorn Nayok, Ang Thong and Singburi.
Less accidents happened in Tak, Chumphon, Prachinburi and Nakhon Sawan.
Dr Withaya Chartdanchachai, an expert on road safety from Khon Kaen hospital, said that the statistics showed a damning and sharp rise depite road safety efforts.
Dr Withaya said that 22,000 was terrible for a country of just over 60 million people and the death figures were only one part of the issue.
Some 1 million people suffer injuries or are handicapped by road accidents. And damages per year are put at a staggering 500 billion baht.
He said that when the figures are crunched by international agencies it will be no surprise if Thailand is now named as the most dangerous place in the world to drive.
He said that safety campaigns were not working.
Law breaking and lack of law enforcement is routine on Thailand’s roads. Tens of millions openly flout the law and when proposals are made to solve problems on the roads they are met with stubborn resistance from the public.
Not enough is spent, there are insufficient funds available and there is not enough technology employed to help with the situation, said TNA.