Phuket has won praise from health and safety agencies for halving the number of road accidents taking place there in the decade ending in 2016.
In the decade previous, 1997-2006, Phuket was among Thailand’s five worst provinces in terms of death and injury resulting from road accidents.
The dramatic reduction in accidents and casualties has been credited to a focus on accident-prone locations (where crashes were cut by 30 per cent), strict law enforcement using speed guns, breathalysers and cameras at intersections (leading to 10 times more drunk drivers arrested in 2016), and an efficient network of multidisciplinary emergency response teams.
The government meanwhile has ordered additional efforts in safety management, road infrastructure, vehicle safety and post-crash care and remedial measures.
Public Health Ministry chief inspector-general Dr Supakit Sirilak said on Thursday these initiatives are in response to directives issued for the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020), which seek a 50-per-cent reduction in road fatalities.
Supakit was addressing journalists on a tour of three “road-safety model areas” in Phuket.
He said updates on road safety now come mainly from the Royal Thai Police, death certificates issued and provided by the Interior and Health ministries, and Bangkok-based Road Accident Victims Protection Co Ltd.
Last year saw 22,356 Thais killed in road accidents, a ratio of 34.4 per 100,000 population, Supakit said.
Three-quarters of the victims were male, and most victims were between 15 and 26 years old.
An estimated 5,000 Thais are maimed or disabled in road crashes every year, he said.
Supakit stressed that Thailand must tackle the problem and shed its notorious ranking among the 10 countries with the highest number of deaths on the roads.