Road traffic injuries in Thailand: trends, selected underlying determinants and status of intervention

Inj Control Saf Promot. 2003 Mar-Jun;10(1-2):95-104. doi: 10.1076/icsp.


Injuries and deaths from traffic crashes have become a major public health and socio-economic problem in Thailand. Injuries, fatalities and economic losses due to traffic crashes have increased with the rising level of motorization. This study analyzes hospital-based data compiled by the Ministry of Public Health, data compiled by the National Police Office and data compiled by the traffic engineering division of the Department of Highways, Ministry of Transport and Communications. Analysis reveals that 70% of the people injured or killed in traffic crashes are aged 10-39. Men are at four to five times higher risk of death and injury due to traffic crashes than women. The number and rate of traffic injury in Thailand swung from a record low during the economic recovery in the 1980's to record a high during the bubble economy, then declined with the economic crisis in 1997. The economic costs were estimated at U.S.$1.6 billion in 1995. An urban-rural difference in traffic injuries has been recorded with a higher rural case-fatality rate. A number of known behavioral risk factors have been identified, i.e., drunk driving, speeding, substance abuse and failure to use helmets and seat belts. However, determinants of behavior need further investigation. Hazardous road locations have also been mapped. Trends of traffic injuries seem to follow trends of economic growth. Without effective policy and implementation programs to control the determinants, it is expected that traffic injuries will increase as the country recovers from economic crisis. A major pitfall to many current government programs is that they incorporate no systematic evaluation. The fragmented structure of road safety authorities further complicates collaboration and coordination. A broad coalition of stakeholders is needed to catalyze policy action.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / economics
  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality
  • Accidents, Traffic / prevention & control
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Accidents, Traffic / trends*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Automobile Driving
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Vehicles
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking
  • Rural Population
  • Safety
  • Sex Factors
  • Thailand / epidemiology
  • Urban Population
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control