The Nation


Letters to the Editor

Breathalyse the statisticians?

Statistics for the "seven deadly days" of Songkran made for the usual gloomy reading this year, with road deaths counted at 322. Pretty disastrous, however one looks at it. But wait. On March 16 last year, then-vice Interior Minister Silapachai Jarukasemratana announced that up to 26,000 people were killed in road accidents in Thailand every year. Now, I am no statistician, but even I can divide 26,000 by 52 and come up with - 500!

This means either that the death toll for Songkran is a considerable improvement on the average for the year or that Songkran figures are being massaged in some way. Of course, it could just be that the vice minister's figures were at fault - or more probably, incorrectly reported, though there is too much consistency between various agencies on total road-death figures for this to be likely. It leaves me wondering what the real death toll over Songkran was.

Johnny Thoyts


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