High road toll 'damaging the economy'

High road toll 'damaging the economy'

An all too frequent sight on Thai highways. This inter-provincial bus ran off the road and overturned at a bend in Phitsanulok on Nov 20, and eight passengers were killed. (Photo by Chinnawat Singha)
An all too frequent sight on Thai highways. This inter-provincial bus ran off the road and overturned at a bend in Phitsanulok on Nov 20, and eight passengers were killed. (Photo by Chinnawat Singha)

The high road accident rate in Thailand is damaging the economy, with an average 61 people dying every day, most of them part of the workforce, the Accident Prevention Network says.

This figure is based on 22,356 people having been killed in road accidents in 2016, network director Phrommin Kanthiya said on Wednesday.

Added to this alarming figure is the more than 5,000 people left newly disabled as a result of accidents, he said. This could be costing the domestic economy "several billion baht a year".

It also comes at a time the government is struggling to boost a sluggish economy.

During a meeting in Nan province with other groups also campaigning to reduce the road  accidnt rate, Mr Phrommin stressed that the state and private sector cannot curb these alarming figures without help. Local communities also need to campaign for better road safety.

Communities were important because "they are close to problems" no matter what they are - whether risky behaviour on the roads, or areas prone to accidents.

Assistant provincial governor Phiphat Prachankhet said that while the government can improve roads to reduce the chance of accidents, people too must be instilled with an awareness of safe travel. This is key to preventing dangerous driving in the first place, he said.


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