Transport - Reducing Accidents


Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
Chiang Khong
SE Asian nations urged to improve road safety

Experts have urged Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries to promote road safety and strictly enforce traffic laws to cut high death tolls from accidents, which result in heavy economic losses. Barry Cable, director of the transport and tourism division, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap), said Southeast Asian governments must do more in the areas of children's education and public awareness to increase safety. He made the statement during a week-long meeting on the development of the Asian Highway Network, which began on Wednesday.

''We have to be more responsible while travelling on the road, including using standardised helmets and seatbelts for children in both front and rear seats,'' Mr Cable said.

Thailand's traffic conditions have improved substantially due to the development of the skytrain and subway systems. Road accessories like 'smart' traffic signs have contributed to improved traffic flow in the city. However, Mr Cable said, more needs to be done.

He also urged police to get tough on drunk driving and the use of mobile phones while driving.

Charles M. Melhuish, lead transport sector specialist of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), said motorcycles accounted for 60% of vehicles in most Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) countries and typically contributed to 60-75% of road accident casualties, with more than 75,000 deaths and 4.7 million injuries last year.

He said the high casualties resulted in economic losses of over $15 billion (567 billion baht) per year, or 2.2% of the annual total gross domestic product (GDP).

A study by the ADB showed that Cambodia had the biggest annual economic losses from road accidents, accounting for 3.21% of its annual GDP, followed by Burma (3%), Indonesia (2.91%), Laos (2.7%), the Philippines (2.6%), Vietnam (2.45%), Thailand (2.10%) and Brunei (1%).

Unless proper action is taken, he said, there will be more than 380,000 deaths and 24 million injuries over the next five years. This will cost Asean countries more than $88 billion (3,329 billion baht) in property damage, medical costs and lost productivity.

Mr Melhuish said Escap is working closely with India to improve its database and will share knowledge and the benefits of the road accident/safety database with other countries.

''We also look forward to the establishment of more national safety councils and more concrete commitments to be made this November when the Asia-Pacific transport ministers meet in Busan [South Korea],'' he said.

Keep The Power On
Mar 15, 2003

''We have to be more responsible while travelling on the road, including using standardised helmets and seatbelts for children in both front and rear seats,'' Mr Cable said.

But let them ride standing up on the motorcycle between Mom and Dad or let them ride carrying infants in their arms. It drives me crazy every time I see this.

Dave Early

Ever notice that "What the Heck!" is usually the right answer?
Jul 6, 2004
Hi David,
I just spent a month in Jakarta with work were I had to travel 30k a day to the job site, believe me Bangkok is "easy" compared to Indo.
I was lucky to have a driver, no way would I ride in Jakarta.
Try 1.5 to 2 hrs in gridlock traffic.

Once u go Asian, forget about Caucasian


Nov 17, 2004
I really liked the photo on the BBK Post the other day of soldiers firing automatic weapons while riding a 2 stroke 250 cc Honda. Makes me want to ride so much more.

More information on Vientam and it's accident/death/injury rates is available at a very clever name.

The following is almost a laugh to read if you have been to VN and ridden here. Pure Chaos.

"Asia Injury’s mission is to reduce the rising number of traffic fatalities in developing Asian countries, starting in Vietnam, and to raise awareness of their social, economic, and human impact.

An estimated 1.2 million people are killed worldwide in road crashes each year and as many as 50 million more are injured. Projections indicate that these figures will rise by 65% over the next 25 years unless there is a renewed commitment to prevention. Developing nations, especially those in South and Southeast Asia, bear the brunt of this problem, accounting for approximately 85% of all deaths. The World Health Organization estimates that road fatalities will rise to the third leading cause of premature death by the year 2020.

In Vietnam, nearly 40 people die each day in traffic accidents and twice that number suffer debilitating head injury. This is a result of rapid motorization and modernization, where people have the ability to trade bicycles for motorbikes, creating a highly mobile population. Unfortunately, preventative safety measures have not accompanied this increased motorization. Limited traffic safety education, lack of awareness about the effectiveness of helmet use, and inconsistent traffic legislation and enforcement have contributed to annual death tolls of over 12,000 people in Vietnam. In addition, approximately 30,000 more suffer from severe brain damage or head trauma sustained in traffic accidents.

Asia Injury advocates policy change on helmet use and has initiated a number of successful programs to halt the growing traffic safety crisis in Vietnam. Asia Injury established Protec, the world’s first nonprofit helmet manufacturer that produces high quality, affordable helmets designed specifically for South Asian riders and to supply Helmets for Kids, which has distributed over 150,000 helmets to primary school children throughout Vietnam. Asia Injury has also developed a Traffic Safety Education curriculum that has been recognized by the Ministry of Education and Training as Official Teaching Material for the primary school system of Vietnam. We have also created innovative public awareness campaigns using billboards, print advertisements, and bus posters to promote traffic safety and change attitudes about helmet use."

Ride Safe