Thailand’s official Road Safety Centre has asked the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to strengthen safety for tourists using land transport claiming a UK report ranked Thailand as the world’s second most dangerous country for tourist-related road accidents after Honduras.
The centre was making a belated response to the UK-based FIA Foundation Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile 27 September 2010 report that researched fatal road accidents involving tourists.
It concluded that often tourists faced a higher risk of dying in a road accident than residents of the country they were visiting.However, the Thailand Road Safety Centre got it wrong when it said the FIA had ranked Thailand second only to Honduras for fatal road accidents involving tourists.
It was in fact research by the US Department of State specifically on road accidents involving US citizens that came to that conclusion.Called “Bad Trip” the foundation report quoted a US Department of State Database on fatal accidents reported in 14 countries over a period 20o2 to 2007. The average statistics showed that only Honduras reported more fatal road accidents involving US tourists than Thailand. The US statistics showed the average road kill rate for US tourists in Thailand in 2005 was 50 for 100,000 visits.
The quoted figure was higher than the average road kill rate for Thai citizens, which was 19 for 100,000, indicating the risk of a deadly accident was higher for US tourists than Thai residents.While experts might challenge the methodology and conclusions of the quoted data in the FIA report, Thailand’s travel industry understands that references to a high travel risk on Thai roads could seriously mar the country’s claim to be a safe and hospitable destination.With or without the FIA report, Thailand road safety centre correctly concedes there is a deadly failure in road safety policing and controls and it impacts on tourists travelling in the country.