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Zebra-crossing death highlights deadly hazards of Thai roads

Thailand unsurprisingly topped the list in Southeast Asia and Asia for road deaths in the last World Health Organisation (WHO) report, averaging at 32.7 people for every 100,000.

Coming in after Thailand in the 2018 WHO Global Status Report on Road Safety were Vietnam (26.4), Malaysia (23.6), Myanmar (19.9), Cambodia (17.8), Laos (16.6), Timor-Leste (12.7), the Philippines (12.3), Indonesia (12.2) and Singapore (2.8).

Thailand was also ranked No 9 in the top 10 countries with the highest number of road fatalities globally. This list was led mostly by African countries.

In a report published in 2019, the Thai Health Promotion Foundation’s road safety centre said pedestrians are the most vulnerable.

The fate of pedestrians on Bangkok roads came to light last week when a police lance corporal on a motorcycle hit and fatally injured a doctor while she was using a zebra crossing.

CCTV footage shows Dr Waralak Supawat-Jariyakul, an ophthalmologist at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine, crossing the walkway in front of Bhumirajanagarindra Kidney Institute Hospital in Phya Thai district on January 21. A van slows to let her pass, before a powerful red Ducati motorcycle zooms in at the right-hand lane and hits Dr Waralak, sending her flying through the air.

Lance Corporal Norawit Buadok, the off-duty policeman who crashed into Waralak, was slammed with five charges on Sunday, including reckless driving causing death, using a vehicle without a licence plate, not driving on the left lane as required, not following road markings and not paying annual tax. Court decision on punishment is pending.

Statistics released by the Department of Highways between 2013 and 2017 showed that an average of 55 per 100 accidents involve pedestrians being hit by motorists coming from the opposite direction, while 40 deaths per 100 accidents were caused by overtaking.

“Most of the pedestrians killed were aged between 45 and 59,” the report said.

Between 2014 and 2017, Thailand has seen some 20,000 road fatalities, 740 of whom were pedestrians, the Digital Government Development Agency (DGA) showed.

“Most of those killed were teenagers aged 15 to 19, followed by people aged 50 to 69,” DGA said. “Most of the accidents were caused by motorcycles, followed by cars and trucks.”

Zebra-crossing death highlights deadly hazards of Thai roads

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Published : January 24, 2022