The Government is starting a campaign for road safety during the 2012 New Year celebration in order to reduce road accidents, which have become one of the biggest killers in Thailand.
The Cabinet on December 6 acknowledged a report on the campaign, submitted by Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Yongyoot Wichaidit, in his capacity as Chairman of the Road Safety Directing Center.
The report referred to a meeting of the center on November 30, when an integrated plan to prevent and reduce road accidents was approved for all provinces to adopt as guidelines. According to the plan, the campaign will be heightened for seven days, from 29 December 2011 to 4 January 2012. The preparatory period has been set from December 1 to 28 for all responsible agencies to delegate work.
The objective of the campaign is to bring down the number of road accidents and the death toll by 5 percent against the figures during the 2011 New Year celebration. Statistics show that 3,497 road accidents took place during the 2011 New Year celebration, in which 358 people died and 3,750 were injured.
The campaign for road safety focuses on five measures, comprising management, law enforcement, traffic engineering, public relations, and emergency medical and rescue services.
As part of the campaign, road accident prevention and reduction centers will be set up at both provincial and district levels. In Bangkok, the center will be established at the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation under the Ministry of Interior. Moreover, checkpoints will be set up at various communities and villages, together with supporting units to facilitate traffic management and their operations for road safety.
The Government steps up the campaign for road safety every year during the New Year festive season, between late December and early January, and during Songkran, the traditional Thai New Year in April. These are the periods when the great number of people are on the road.
Accidents kill a large number of people in Thailand each year, and out of these accidents, about 90 percent are caused by road traffic. Drunk driving has been cited as a major cause of road accidents, which result in great economic losses, in addition to loss of lives, injury, and property damage.
Thailand has set the period from 2011 to 2020 as the “Decade for Road Safety.” In response to this policy, the campaign for road safety also seeks to promote the use of safety helmets among motorcyclists, reduce risks from alcohol abuse, upgrade the safety standards for vehicles, especially motorcycles, trucks, and public transport, and develop the emergency medical services to treat and rehabilitate accident victims.