THE New Year’s celebration is over and now is a great time for us to look back at this very specific period of time, known in Thailand as the Seven Days of Danger, a catchy tag name meaning there is extra effort from the police and the authorities to ensure as little accidents as possible on the roads.
Phuket’s results came in last week and sadly, the Pearl of Andaman didn’t succeed in zero death accidents over the New Year’s period.
During those seven days, which ran from December 28, 2017 to January 3, 2018, there were a total of 46 accidents on the island, with 46 injuries, compared to 81 last year, and two casualties, a number similar to last year.
We noticed a 43% decrease in accidents this year compared to 2017, which is certainly a step in the right direction.
Among other positive numbers we can look at is the number of riders without a helmet, an epidemic in Phuket and Thailand in general, moving from close to 3,500 people in 2017 to only 303 this year, an impressive result which shows the latest pushes from the local government and security campaigns are working as intended, even though it is taking time.
Another impressive result is the amount of people driving without an official license (either issued from the Thai Department of Transportation or an international driving license), which has been reduced from 2,411 in 2017 to only 232 this year.
It is still important for Phuket and the Thai Government to look at how easy it is to obtain a driver’s license in the country, usually requiring no more than a few hundred baht and a full-day spent at the Department of Transportation.
The fact that no training is required prior to the exam is still bothering me, as it is standard practice in a lot of countries around the world, countries that are not sharing our number 1 spot for road death in 2017.
It is time for all of us, both locals and visitors alike, to make Phuket, and Thailand, a better place! There is no rush when you live on an island, so let’s keep it that way when driving from point A to point B. Stay safe everyone!
Top: A bad accident in Phuket recently.
By Nattha Thepbamrung