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A temporarily repaired stretch of Patong Hill remains a Phuket hazard

Phuket Road Toll, Phuket Drownings Show Dramatic Improvement

Saturday, June 9, 2012
PHUKET: Seven deaths were recorded on Phuket roads in April, latest official statistics reveal, taking the toll for the first third of the year to 36.

This compares with 15 Phuket road deaths recorded in April last year and a total of 45 deaths to the same point in 2011.

Given that the number of vehicles on Phuket's roads is constantly increasing, this year's tally so far in the Phuket Public Health statistics is an encouraging improvement.

A dramatic decrease is also evident in the number of drownings on Phuket, according to the official figures.

On Phuket's roads, improved road design, removal of blackspots, the introduction of traffic separators and better signage appear to be working.

In 2010, total deaths to the same point on Phuket amounted to 49. In 2009, the tally was 55.

The gradual improvement over the past few years indicates that the cynics who say nothing ever changes for the better on Phuket are wrong about the road toll - and beach safety.

Where there is still cause for huge concern is in the number of injured requiring treatment at Phuket hospitals, which in April amounted to 1263 cases.

This figure is down on tallies that sometimes top 1500 in a single month, but it remains a shocking indication that Phuket continues to sacrifice the health of its citizens because of an addiction to the motorcycle.

The majority of the injured are young. For too many, the injuries involve being maimed or crippled for life. Just how much longer Phuket will be content to needlessly ruin large numbers of young lives remains to be seen.

Without a safe, efficient public transport network across all of Phuket, the maimings will continue to place extraordinary demands on Phuket's overloaded health care system. Phuket families will continue to grieve.

Every tuk-tuk and taxi driver on Phuket is certain to know family members or friends who have been killed or seriously injured riding motorcycles. In many cases it's because they didn't have the option of catching a bus.

Without those 1200 to 1500 motorcycle injuries each month, Phuket's doctors and nurses would be able to pay more attention to patients with life-threatening diseases and conditions that can be treated and healed.

The ''100 percent helmet'' campaign also appears to have not been pursued as fully this year as in previous years. If Phuket police don't continue their highly-successful campaign, more deaths and injuries will be the result.

It's hard to imagine that their time is better spent performing other tasks.

Phuket also had a wonderful April in the water, according to the Phuket Public Health figures. There were four rescues and no drownings. This compares with four drownings in March.

In previous years, Phuket has had four or five drownings each April.

The drowning toll on Phuket for the first third of the year remains on five deaths. This compares with 14 to the same point in 2011, 12 in 2010, and 21 in 2009.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


floods monsoon period heavist rains seen in years this is good luck not good management 4 drownings in june and they make a propaganda statement about april only 36 road toll gives cold comfort way mini buses drive with passengers one crash will increase it dramatically, and you will have noted theres no overloading laws in phuket a contributing factor like 4 on a honda 50 with furniture no helmets only real action will change things.

Posted by traveller on June 9, 2012 14:56

Editor Comment:

No point in seeing only bad news when the figures are a sign that action on the roads is achieving more positive outcomes, traveller. It's not a ''propaganda statement'' and the Public Health Department is not ''they''. It's true that more should be done . . . but that's the case everywhere.


You can't just blame the Motorcyclists. It is the car drivers that are the main reason for the amount of maiming and accidents on the road.
People here in Phuket drive like its a race track, cutting corners, jumping lights and speeding. The only reason for the amount of accidents on the road is because of the dangerous vehicle driving.
I would be willing to bet that there would be less than 50 accidents in a month on the road if ALL cars/trucks were banned.
Has anyone ever been prosecuted for dangerous driving? Or jumping traffic lights? I am sure the number is in single figures yet everyday I see more than 100 cars breaking driving rules, and that's only in my area.

Posted by Tbs on June 9, 2012 17:11

Editor Comment:

Tbs, Phuket motorists are, in my experience, also among the most safety-conscious and courteous. To condemn them all for the actions of some is to not give an accurate account of the good and bad behavior on Phuket's roads. You only see the bits that you want to see. We haven't blamed motorcycles - the machine is a wonderful thing. But motorcycles make anyone on them much, much more vulnerable. Yes, people have been prosecuted for dangerous driving. And no, cars and trucks are no more at fault than the motorcycle. Give generously to provide the police with enough funds to support another 300 to 400 to help the overworked 1100, and all your dreams will be answered. Meanwhile, try to be a bit fairer, please.


What action are the police taking on the roads to improve safety?
Are these figures just good luck, there are no drink driving campaigns, no speed radar policing, vehicles do not get stopped by the police when violating road rules, nothing.

Posted by coxo on June 9, 2012 17:26

Editor Comment:

You will probably have seen multiple plastic dividers and new median strips. These come about because police know where most crashes occur and work out ways to reduce the dangers. Sometimes, they use cheap tyres and replace them when there's the budget for more expensive stuff. Combined with improved signage and attention to road design, the toll figures are trending down. The reason is more thought going into road safety. There was one crash in which a family of three died on a motorcycle but most of the devastating crashes so far this year have been on Phang Nga roads. Reports that the competition for Chinese tourists is so intense that older, less costly buses are being used means the road transport officers will need to redouble their checks. Phuket police are understaffed and underequipped. Radar guns are coming. Pursuits are not going to happen, with the exception of Highway Police on the open road to the north of the island. In Phuket traffic, they'd just be too dangerous. The helmet campaign worked well, but was only really pursued in Phuket City.


It would be good to have public transport but the problem with it is that it's rarely, and usually never, convenient taking many hours to do what can be done in a few minutes on a bike.

Also, the price to buy a bike is dirt cheap, especially second hand ones. The price to rent a car or bike is about the same as 1 or 2 rides in a tuk tuk and many times it's less.

This puts a lot of tourists, expats and locals on the road that probably shouldn't be driving. I wonder how many accidents are to do with being under the influence of drugs or alcohol?

Posted by Ty on June 9, 2012 18:26


Ed: Probably you've seen Phuket moto- rist "most safety-conscious and courteous" in your dreams! Stand up and go out to see what really happens on Phuket Island's roads!

Posted by Coralie on June 9, 2012 19:23

Editor Comment:

Coralie, you must be another person who only recollects the bad bits, not the good bits. There are thousands of courteous and safe drivers on Phuket. There are also bad ones. Don't distort reality.


Well done article, and I agree it is improving. Maybe not like "back home", but then again it is not back home, which is why I choose to live in a place I want to be. My biggest fear on the roadways are the farang drivers. I can sit and contribute nothing to improving my surroundings. But I spend my time volunteering to try and improve it. Your editorial hit the nail on the head for me.

Posted by Thaibehr on June 9, 2012 21:17


This time I agree ED.. Msot of the motorist are "safety-conscious and courteous".. IF we look at the past news the real problem is about drunk people driving, and so the real problem is police that never apply the law: not close the bar and disco at the right time, never put a check point in the night to check the level of alchool, neve did thi job during the nigh.. and these are facts, not words..

Posted by Dave on June 9, 2012 21:18

Editor Comment:

Do people in bars get refused service and told to leave when they've had enough to drink? That would save plenty of lives.


After having driven in most states of Australia, Phuket, Solomom Islands and Malaysia I must say that I agree with the Editor. Phuket drivers are safety conscious and courteous especially in comparison to many drivers I have seen in Australia.
Another point in favor of Phuket drivers is the lack of road rage I have seen displayed, it is a substantial and growing problem in Australia.
For all those who seem to take delight in knocking Phuket I would suggest that a "Glass is half full attitude always beats a glass is half empty attitude". People you are living in paradise compared to any western country and you should appreciate how lucky you are.

Posted by Arthur on June 10, 2012 07:21


"These come about because police know where most crashes occur and work out ways to reduce the dangers"

That's a really good one, you made my day! If they wanted to work out ways to reduce danger on roads, they would follow the land-traffic-act from 1979! Apply and fine, fine, fine,...!

"Sometimes, they use cheap tyres and replace them when there's the budget for more expensive stuff"

Don't think so. My guess, b/c all the tyres got removed during the Bangkok people have been here, but still not installed 'expensive stuff' in all places:
There was someone saying, that loose tyres, in the middle of the road, is a 'no go'.

Posted by ??? on June 10, 2012 16:44

Editor Comment:

Guesses aren't good enough, ??? Don't waste our time with them.


The problem is that for example in Rawai can't find any motorbiketaxi or taxy after 2.00 0'clock when is supposed everybody are sleeping. Different situation in Patong where, in fact, even there are the maximum number of tourists, there are only fews accidents late in the night...

Posted by Dave on June 10, 2012 17:32


"The problem is that for example in Rawai can't find any motorbiketaxi or taxy after 2.00 0'clock when is supposed everybody are sleeping."
Most car drivers, around/after that time, are pickled! Do you think, the motorbiketaxis don't know that? And wanna give it a try, to get killed?

Posted by ??? on June 12, 2012 12:39

Editor Comment:

My only experience, ???, is in going out one night determined to catch a motorcycle taxi home, then finding out too late that the rider was seriously drunk.

That's why Phuket needs a call-in taxi system. Get it?


"Editor Comment:

My only experience,[...]to catch a motorcycle taxi home, then finding out too late that the rider was seriously drunk.

That's why Phuket needs a call-in taxi system. Get it?"

I got it long time ago. Everyone knows about the drunks on Phukets roads, in the night. That taxi driver are among them, is mostly the excuse for "Na, better drive (drunk) myself.

But a call in service wouldn't make sure, to get a sober driver. Without any force behind, to clear this problem, there will e no progress!

Also there are two call in services available, on this Island.
1. 24h black taxis, everyt bar has sticker or numbers! And 'crack down' finished, so all available and in need, now!
2. Metertaxis, with a general service-number: 076-232157/8
But don't be surprised, if no one answers in the night. Even in Day time, there is (sry, was! b/c of this, long time not used) not much activity. But try this website:

It look like, minimum one of the cab drivers is interested in more business. But it will help, to be a known customer, in case you wanna call past midnight!

Posted by ??? on June 13, 2012 17:17


Interesting! Parts of comments, that Ed don't like:
Banned by the censor

Posted by ??? on June 14, 2012 18:34

Editor Comment:

We don't run comments that speculate wildly or generalise. Moderation is different to censorship. It's an important distinction. You bravely use the identifier ???, yet Phuketwan could be held accountable for anything you say. You are free to take it or leave it.

Thursday July 18, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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