Just how bad is our road toll?


Many sources have indicted Thailand as having the second worst road fatalities in the world, and on paper that would seem to be correct, but I believe is an incorrect measurement. Always remember that there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Another statistic.
Another statistic.

The latest figure I managed to find from WHO (2013) is the Thailand road toll that year was 24,237. Bangladesh only managed to kill 21,316 in that same year.

However, these bald figures do not take into account differences in the different number of inhabitants, or the number of vehicles on the road. Looking at that we get a very different picture. Thailand’s inglorious mention is 36.2 fatalities per 100,000 people. The fatality rate per 100,000 inhabitants of Bangladesh is 13.6. The average for SE Asia is 17. Once again, we do not look good.

However, road congestion should also be taken into account, and when we look at fatalities per 100,000 vehicles, Thailand scores 74.6, and while in this region, Laos has 67.5 and Cambodia 107.2. However, these numbers are mere drops in the ocean when we look at Afghanistan at 722, Angola 992, Bangladesh 1,020.6 or Benin at 8,177.2.

Perhaps we should only look at deaths relative to traffic congestion, in which we are not good, but not as disastrous as Bangladesh, for example.

The local problem could be alleviated with application of the road rules, because we do have them. We just don’t have the application of them.

Motorcycles make up 80 percent of our fatalities, in which the vast majority was not wearing crash helmets. It doesn’t require rocket science to work out the next step. It certainly would be a step in the right direction if the police administered the wearing of helmet rule. Assisting this, if some more of the large employers of labor showed the way by blocking access to the plant for riders without helmets, a real reduction would be the result. It is possible to alter attitudes.