Policy Proposal to Solve Road Traffic Accident in Thailand
According to the World Health Organization’s report, Thailand has been ranked second among the world’s road traffic fatality rate at 36.2 per 100,000. It also has an annual estimate of over 24,000 deaths or 66 deaths per day. The Global Report on Road Safety has identified five risk factors resulted in a high rate of road accident in Thai community. These include speed, drink-driving, helmets, seatbelts and child restraints. Over recent decade, policy makers have tried to reduce the number of road accidents in Thailand but it seems that this problem cannot be easily achieved. With regard to this project, it has been funded by the main government agency called the Royal Thai Research Fund. The project mainly focuses on four key issues in tackling the problem of traffic accident in Thailand. Such four key issues are 1) Traffic engineering system, 2) Traffic law enforcement, 3) Traffic management, 4) Training system development of traffic police. The objectives of this project are to investigate the problems and obstacles of traffic accident management, to find out practical ways to deal with road accident, to propose the ideas for solving traffic accident when compared to the policies in the past; and to educate Thai people as well as to raise public awareness for road safety.As regard to research methodology, quantitative and qualitative study were implemented for this project. Purposive sampling was employed for data collection. The data were collected in five large provinces in five main regions. These were the North, the Northeastern, Central area, the East and the South. Such large provinces were Chiang Mai, KhonKaen, Bangkok, Chonburi and Suratthanee respectively. Key informants from various government agencies and NGOs were invited for interviews such as the Ministry of Transport, the Royal Thai Police, the Ministry of Public Health, the Department of Land Transport, Local Authorities and Don’t Drive Drunk Foundation. Moreover, focus group was held twice so as to derive various perspectives among practitioners, academics and policy makers.
The research findings can be summarized as follows: 1) An integrated road safety data system needs to be established at national level so that road traffic fatality data will be more accurately reported to policy makers. Such data will be used by all key stakeholders for developing evidence-based traffic injury 2) the lack of road safety standard needs to be discussed at policy level in order to improve road safety system throughout the country 3) Technology implementation should be necessarily set up at local level such as speed cameras and helmet detectors 4) Law enforcement should be vigorously made for all offences, particularly for those who are recidivism. By doing this, point reduction and severe punishment should be implemented. Traffic police assistant should be set up systematically to support traffic activities.5) Training system for traffic police should be established from the top to the bottom, along with evaluation mechanism 6) Public awareness of Traffic accident should be significantly increased at all levels through effective programs and media 7) Road safety education should be embedded at young generation as their local culture.
Key words - Road safety, road traffic accident, traffic police and policy proposal