The Road Toll


We have just had the so-called seven dangerous days, and the road toll has gone up! I wrote the following some years ago, but it is still relevant.

I try to shy away from contentious subjects in this column, as it was designed to be a lighthearted look at things motoring, but sometimes a lighthearted look may not be appropriate. For the nation’s road toll, this is one of those times.

What prompted me on this line of thought was the fact I was almost run over by songthaews running the red light on the zebra crossing on Second Road. For those who have not been to Pattaya recently, you will find that Beach Road now has pedestrian traffic lights every 200 meters. However, unfortunately all these do is to instill a false sense of security for those on foot, and these days, most are not working.

Now when we look at the road toll, what were prime factors?

1. 80 percent of those killed are between 15-60 years.

2. 75 percent of the people killed are male.

3. 80 percent were riding motorcycles.

4. 85 percent had no crash helmet.

5. More than 50 percent of those injured had blood alcohol levels above the legal limit of 0.05. (Figures for blood alcohol levels of those killed are notoriously under-reported to avoid police/insurance problems.)

And that was about five years ago, showing that nothing, repeat nothing, has been successful in lowering the carnage.

The numbers that stand out are 80 percent motorcycles and 85 percent of them had no helmet. Surely this would be a good place to start, and legislating a standard for helmets the similar priority. Lawrence of Arabia died because he did not have a helmet in 1935. Surely we can do better 80 years later?