While the Thai Government places a huge emphasis on containing and controlling the spread of coronavirus within the country, another deadly killer is claiming thousands of lives every month.
Thailand’s notoriously dangerous roads remain one of the most lethal in the world, taking 5,376 lives so far this year as of the morning of May 6th.
Yesterday alone, 63 people died on Thailand’s roads. That is nine more people than have passed away from the coronavirus since the infection reached the country at the beginning of the year.
The number of road deaths yesterday represents a sharp increase from what had been relatively few daily road deaths during the lockdown and ban on alcohol sales.
Perhaps the correlation between alcohol sales being allowed again and a jump in the number of road deaths is a coincidence, but there is little doubt that drink driving is a major problem around the country.
Of the 63 road deaths yesterday, 57 were people riding motorbikes. That brings to light another issue – wearing a helmet, or the lack thereof when driving motorbikes.
In the first four months of this year, a total of 336,533 people have been injured on Thailand’s roads, the majority of whom were motorbike drivers.
Then there are the other basic traffic violations that would result in a ticket or license points in many other countries but are simply ignored in Thailand.
Speeding, dangerous overtaking, breaking red traffic lights, and motorbikes snaking in and out of traffic happen regularly on Thailand’s roads without punishment.
While this article began by comparing coronavirus and road death statistics, it is perhaps a slightly unfair comparison as they are not related.
However, the point being made is that the sheer volume of deaths on Thailand’s roads should warrant the kind of attention from the Thai Government that coronavirus is receiving.
Police need to manage traffic violations such as speeding, not wearing a helmet, dangerous overtaking, drink driving, and other transgressions much more effectively.
If traffic laws were actually enforced across Thailand, a drop in the death rate is sure to follow.