Driving Standards and Road Safety in Thailand
Road safety in Thailand is a big problem. Well over ten thousand lives are lost on Thai roads from motorbike accidents alone, and expats are not spared. The problem is such a big issue that some foreign governments have tried to step in to help their citizens avoid the carnage that takes place in Thailand’s every day.
Driving standards also leave a lot to be desired. Below is more you need to know about driving standards and road safety in Thailand.
Rapid industrialization in Thai cities such as Bangkok is also considered a factor in the below-par driving standards in the country. The initial infrastructure was clearly not made with the capacity to handle the growth the country has experienced in the last couple of years. This has resulted in inefficiency, ineffectiveness, and congestion. With over 20 million motorbikes on the roads, and over 6 million cars, numbers that continue rising, the standards on the roads, unfortunately, can only get worse.
Furthermore, the authorities are not that picky about who operates a vehicle on the road. Driver licenses are issued quite easily, and do not say much, if anything at all, about the owner’s driving skills. There is also the problem of unlicensed drivers, and a corrupt police force that makes sure that those who violate driving rules can get away with having to face the full force of the law.
Road Safety In Thailand
Even though motorbikes are all over the place, many riders hardly wear helmets. Car drivers also flaunt road regulations with an equal measure of impunity. More often than not, motorists completely ignore traffic rules. It is also not unusual for the motorcycle riders to down a beer or two before giving you a ride to your chosen destination. Of course, half of them don’t even use helmet is used, and that spells trouble for both the rider and the passenger.
As a matter of fact, Thailand ranks last when it comes to safety of motorbikes in the world. What’s worrying is that they account for just 70% of the casualties who lose their lives to reckless road use, which means that thousands of other people die in car accidents.
Why then, would such this disastrous mode of transportation still remain so popular in this country? The answer is simple: motorcycles it offers the easiest mode of transport when compared to cars. For instance, unlike cars, motorbikes are everywhere, which makes them the only choice for many people. Additionally, motorbike rides are quite cheap.
However, the most disconcerting aspect about the worrying situation brought about by motorcycles on Thai roads is the ingrained culture of disregard for traffic rules. Road safety is not considered a big issue in Thailand, with some superstition even finding its way into the logic behind this blatant disregard for road safety. For instance, many Thais are of the opinion that if your time has not come, nothing will happen to you.
The government has on many occasions come out publicly to declare its intention to improve road safety. Despite the promises, most of the grunt work remains undone. Unfortunately, road safety is not the only problem plaguing road systems in Thailand. The poor driving standards in the country contribute greatly to this problem. The road systems are not constructed with safety in mind. Moreover, the corruptible police force and a culture that is dismissive to safe driving make the Thai road system the death trap that it is today.