Launch of the Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018 in Thailand
On 20 December 2018, the Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018, the 4th report in the series, was launched by WHO Thailand Country Office at a press conference co-organised with the Ministry of Public Health and the Thai Health Promotion Foundation. Four key speakers at the event included Dr Daniel Kertesz, WHO Representative to Thailand; Dr Witaya Chatbunchachai, Director of WHO Collaborating Center for Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion, Khon Kaen Hospital; Dr Thanapong Jinwong, Secretary General of Road Safety Policy Foundation; and the Honourable Mr Surachai Liengboonlertchai, First Vice-President of the National Legislative Assembly. The event was attended by more than 20 journalists and 50 government and non-government partners. The Global Status Report on Road Safety (GSRRS) 2018 highlights that the world is far from achieving SDG 3.6 to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes. The number of road traffic deaths globally has not declined since 2000; it continues to climb, reaching a high of 1.35 million in 2016. Across the world, road traffic injuries are the 8th leading cause of death for people of all ages. One of the most disturbing statistics in the global report is that road traffic injuries are the leading killer of children and young adults globally. Further, more than half of global road traffic deaths are amongst pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. According to WHO estimates for Thailand in the GSRRS 2018, road traffic crashes killed more than 22,000 people, which equates to about 60 people dying on Thailand’s road each day. The majority of these deaths occurs to those aged between 15 and 29 years. The 2018 report also shows that 74% of road traffic deaths in Thailand are to riders of motorised 2- and 3- wheelers, mainly motorcycles. Thailand is demonstrating strong commitment to reducing road crash deaths and substantial progress has been made since the previous GSRRS in 2015; for example: Pillar 1: Road safety management –by recently setting up the sub-committee to review the establishment of the road safety technical institute. This is a bold step in the efforts towards strengthening Thailand’s institutional capacity on road safety; Pillar 2: Safer roads and mobility – by the efforts to improve rural roads taking into account safety for all road users which has resulted in fewer fatalities, and by welcoming the star rating for new and existing roads in an effort to achieve the global standards; Pillar 3: Safer vehicles – by the efforts to introduce the evidence-based policy on ABS installation for safer motorcycles, and by the investment in installing a GPS system for over 300,000 public vans, buses, and trucks to monitor driving time and speed to increase the safety of the drivers and passengers; Pillar 4: Safer road users – by passing the law on seat belts for rear seat occupants and also by setting blood-alcohol concentration limits for young and novice drivers and for the ongoing efforts to integrate and modernise existing legislation to address safer behaviours; and Pillar 5: Post-crash care – Thailand has demonstrated a remarkable success in post-crash care, part of which is due to a strong lead agency who sets the standards and coordinates efforts effectively. The World Safety 2018 Conference recently hosted in Thailand also demonstrated the country’s commitment to improving road safety. Road traffic crashes are not accidents; they are completely preventable. With the strong leadership and the right investment, Thailand can develop the safeguards and best practices that are required to save lives.