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A father mourns his daughter, one of six killed in a Phuket crash in 2011

Phuket Road Toll 280 Last Year, Say Officials

Tuesday, August 11, 2015
PHUKET: According to Phuket Public Health, 103 deaths have occurred on the holiday island's roads so far this year compared to the very high figure of 280 deaths last year.

The road toll on Phuket - kept a ''state secret'' for years - was finally revealed today at a meeting to assess the dangers of deaths and injuries on Phuket and decide what should be done to improve safety.

As Phuketwan has been saying for a very long time, the most important step forward would be to improve awareness.

Too many tourists die on Phuket's roads because they are not warned of the dangers of hiring a big bike, and drinking alcohol.

They also often expect the road conditions to match those of Europe.

The effects on families, the economy and the quality of life of residents and expats of road deaths and serious, life-changing injuries is shocking - but mostly avoidable.

A glimmer of light appeared in the dark today when police and the Public Health office appeared to reverse the policy of hiding the toll figures and accepted that awareness and greater publicity is one of the important needs to reduce the road toll.

Until April 2012, when the Public Health office decided to suspend publication of toll updates, Phuketwan carried monthly statistics on deaths and injuries and attempted to inform at-risk tourists and residents about the dangers on Phuket.

After more than three years of covering up what has been happening on the roads of Phuket, the revelation of a toll of 280 for Phuket in 2014 and a lower figure of 103 for 2015 so far at least showed there is hope for change.

The Deputy Commander of Phuket Police, Colonel Theerapol Tipcharoen, and the Director of Public Health, Dr Bancha Kakong, both emphasised the need to warn tourists of the dangers of riding motorcycles on Phuket.

''There is a different culture and different conditions on Phuket,'' Dr Bancha said. ''People who hire big bikes and are not expert must be warned.''

A disproportionate number of tourists and expat residents die in motorcycle crashes.

It's still not plain why the Public Health office stopped releasing monthly updates in April, 2012 in spite of evidence elsewhere around the world that emphasising the needless toll is the best means of reducing it.

All of Phuket's police stations, senior officials and representatives from hospitals and insurance agents were at today's meeting at Phuket's Public Health office.

Efforts have been made by police to enforce helmet laws and obliterate black spots for crashes but a needlessly high number of tourists still die on the island's roads, especially on motorcycles late at night or early in the morning.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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So whose job is it to clean up the Thai Driving?

I am sure you will get a kick out of this - well worth watching http://tinyurl.com/qhgzlfw

Posted by Tbs on August 11, 2015 20:52

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I have lived here too long to believe any figures or statistics posted by officials.
I will draw my own conclusions based on what I photographs, video record and see.
I think there is some very creative accounting with the numbers here.

Posted by Robin on August 11, 2015 20:57

Editor Comment:

But not as creative as the accounting you do yourself, Robin.

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Ed that could be a very tricky comment boardering on , well you know what.
I have the photographs and the video files to prove that everyday I see the death and accidents on our roads. I even hear them at night on the turn off to Chergn Talay from Heroinees Monument. The fourth camber in the road is wrong and it always catches the drunks and unwary.
I have seen four deaths in that turn, yet not one reported on PW or other papers.
So yes it could be said it is creative accounting by myself.
At least I am not distorting figures to please myself or anybody else.
I frankly could not care less who lives or dies.
I am just getting on with my life.

Posted by Robin on August 11, 2015 21:35

Editor Comment:

I have seen four deaths in that turn, yet not one reported on PW or other papers.

I don't doubt it. Suppression is what happens on Phuket when authorities should be transparent and honest. The road toll will only be reduced when people know and understand why they have to drive carefully.

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The figures whether accurate or not are still appalling & mirror probable figures across the whole of Thailand.

It is a sad fact that I have seldom made a journey of more than 500 km without seeing at least 1 accident that was a potential fatality. The driving mindset is all wrong. It's devil take the hinder most regardless of outcome.

It's carnage which is why Thailand ranks as one of the worst countries in the World for fatal accidents.

Posted by Logic on August 11, 2015 22:33

Editor Comment:

So much attention goes into safety at Western New Year and Thai New Year and the maintaining of low figures at those times is expected to somehow reverberate through the other 50 weeks. Perhaps now we will have a more consistent approach. There are excellent awareness campaigns that have saved lives. The schools are the places to start.

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Plus of course all the people who don't die at the scene but die afterwards in hospital who don't get included in the stats....

Posted by Discover Thainess on August 12, 2015 02:36

Editor Comment:

We hope that might be changing now, DT. The cost to the island of its addiction to the motorcycle in terms of crash-related deaths and injuries is horrendous.

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The publication of the official number of deaths on the roads in Phuket is a step in the right direction
For the same reason the number of deaths in the sea should be published

Posted by Paul on August 12, 2015 05:40

Editor Comment:

We have more knowledge about drownings than deaths on the road. It would also help if embassies insisted on these figures being made available on a regular basis, in the absence of three-monthly forums with the governor.

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Another important fact to know is that according to police themselves, road fatality are only counted as road fatalities if the person dies 'on the road'. If the person dies besides the road or in the hospital its not a road fatality anymore.

Posted by Mr. K on August 12, 2015 07:31

Editor Comment:

It's normal in most developed countries for authorities other than the police to assist in keeping accurate statistics. Given that police numbers nationally are well down on what they should be, it's difficult to expect police to keep accurate statistics beyond those cases in which they are able to describe the immediate outcome. A walk through an overcrowded public hospital also shows the pressures doctors and nurses are under. The responsibility to coordinate the reduction of the needless devastation caused by the unsafe overuse of motorcycles clearly lies with Public Health.

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The police are to busy overiding an automated traffic management system to enforce basic road safety. Others are engaged at every school at 3.45pm and fail to enforce the helmet law, maximum two people to 1 motorbike.

Perhaps the 1st step to reduce accidents would be to educate the police force. How hard can it be?

Posted by gee on August 12, 2015 10:23

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I used to follow the monthly stats and have always wondered since how things are getting along.
Could you please state the previous yearly figures again, to compare them with the new ones?

Posted by Tinkerbell on August 12, 2015 14:41

Editor Comment:

What previous yearly figures? There have been none released since 2011.

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would be fantastic! right this is the first thing to do in Phuket.hope really change this road war!!!

Posted by fa on August 12, 2015 15:55

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"280" annually clearly tell what priority road safety have here.That's approximately 100 more than 20 years ago, yes I know its more vehicles / people but so have other countries and there annual numbers of road fatalities goes down!

Posted by Harald on August 13, 2015 06:55

Editor Comment:

We certainly think that figure, if correct, may have provoked a reappraisal of the measures being taken to reduce the toll.

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Here is an interesting, and shocking statement from a policeman that lives 2 houses away from me. I asked him why the law is almost never enforced in regards wearing helmets, safety belts, alcohol and other basic traffic laws. And his answer was this: [ If me, or my fellow police colleagues would stop, and fine everybody that doesn't wear a helmet, or a safety belt, we could see a rise in deaths in the police force, as we would stop, and fine the wrong people from time to time, that do not wanna lose face, and they would not hold back to stick a gun in our face, and pull the trigger.] This says enough to conclude, that there is an anarchy among a lot of people here,that think, or even worse, believe, they are above the law.

Posted by Carl on August 13, 2015 17:36

Editor Comment:

Or your policeman neighbor is telling you a tall story, Carl, to explain away the lack of action.


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