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The target to reduce the death toll from road accidents in Thailand has been reduced by the Public Health Ministry after the original target proved to be too ambitious.
Previously the ministry set a target to reduce the death toll on the roads of Thailand by fifty percent in ten years under the Decade of Safe Roads campaign set to run from 2011 to 2020. The new target is to cut the death toll by seven percent a year according to the permanent secretary Narong Sahametapat.
In the first two years of the campaign the death toll failed to fall and the number of deaths caused by road accidents reached 14,033 in 2011 and 14,059 in 2012. Economic losses from road accidents are thought to exceed 200 billion baht a year.
Next y ear the ministry will focus on improving database systems, in collaboration with the Royal Thai Police and private road safely management to help achieve the new target.
According to a report in the Nation in March this year up to twenty six thousand people are killed on the roads in Thailand each year and that figure puts the country in the top 6th spot in the world. The report said that up to eighty percent of those deaths were motorcyclists and their passengers. The statistics sited in the report were taken from a press release given by Vice Interior Minister Jarukasemratana at a press conference. He told the press that the key causes for the deaths were speeding, drunk driving or the failure to wear safety belts or crash helmets – all of which are offences under traffic laws.
Silapachai said that since 1996, all motorcyclists and motorcycle passengers have been required by law to wear a helmet. “Without helmets, both motorcyclists and passengers face the risk of sustaining serious head injuries in road accidents,” he said. According to the 2011 World Road Statistics, Thailand was one of the top five countries with the highest number of motorcycle-related deaths.
Danai Ruangsorn, president of the Thai Roads Foundation, said the percentage of children wearing helmets on motorcycles was also very low. “Just 7 per cent wear a helmet,” he said.
Last year’s survey showed that only about 28 per cent of teenage motorcyclists and about 49 per cent of adults wore helmets. Bangkok had the highest number or 80 per cent of helmet wearers, while only 20 per cent of motorcyclists in Beung Kan, Lamphun, Chaiyaphum, Narathiwat and Nakhon Phanom were found wearing helmets.
According to figures at http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/cause-of-death/road-traffic-accidents/by-country/ Nambia has the highest deaths on the roads rate, followed by Swaziland, Malawi, Iraq, Iran and then Thailand. Laos is ranked number 58, the USA 107, the Philippines 133, New Zealand 137, Italy 150, Australia 162, France 164, Ireland 166, Germany 170, and the UK is in 180th