Statistics about road accidents in Thailand

Road network density and number of cars

Thailand has a 200,000 km road network. According to, that makes the road network density (km of roads per 1,000 kmĀ²) of Thailand similar to the one of New Zealand.

The total number of vehicles was estimated to 20 million in 2006 (source: ESCAP), and the number of cars (including SUVs, vans, and commercial vehicles) was estimated to 11.2 million in 2011 (source: Wikipedia). There are 165 cars per 1,000 inhabitants in Thailand, the same number as in South Africa (by comparison there are 712 cars/1,000 people in New Zealand and 797 in the USA).

Road accidents fatalities

Each year, about 13,000 people die in road accidents in Thailand, and several hundred thousands are injured (source: ESCAP). The death rate per 100,000 inhabitants is 19.6 in Thailand (source : Wikipedia), which is a figure similar to Russia (19.5) or Brazil (19.9). As a comparison, the rate is 12.3 in the USA, 5.5 in France, 3.6 in the UK and only 2.9 in Sweden). New Zealand, which has a similar road network density, has a death rate per 100,000 people of 8.6, and South Africa, which has a smilar number of cars on the roads, has a rate of 33.2. The most dangerous countries are Eritrea (48.4), Cook Islands (45.0), Egypt (42.0) and Libya (40.5).

Other interesting facts

Most accidents and most fatalities happen in urban areas. In 2005, 59% of accidents happened in Bangkok (but the number of deaths was 13% of the total).

While the traffic decreases during the night, the number of accidents doesn’t drop at the same pace. Most accidents happen during morning and evening rush hours, but at night a peak can be noticed between 18.00 and 21.00. It can be explained by drunk driving (in Thailand people who drink on a regular basis start early in the evening).

For further reading, we recommend this 2006 report written for the ESCAP (the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific).

5 Comments on “Statistics about road accidents in Thailand”

  1. The reasons why Thailand got the highest, don’t get me wrong the Thais are nice &friendly people but once they gets into their car they turned into a monsters. There many ways to improve the roads systems in Thailand if the law is much more stricts. Reasons why so many accidents & so many road died.
    1) The Thais drives ther car way too fast.
    2)If you leave enough spaces so incase you have to brake in an emergency, they don’t care, if they see even alittle space they squzee in.
    3) They drives or the ride bikes like they own the road, they simply do not have ‘ROAD MANNERS’ , they don’t give signls or warning what they are goinng to do. They overtake on the insde.
    4) Big lorries drives on the right lane!
    5) The Thai believe in giving ways!
    6) Motor bikes driving on the wrong sde of the road !
    I always tell my husband from England, the road signs does not mean anything to the Thais, because they don’t especially you can these kind of drivers outside Bangkok. Especially many in Nonthaburi areas & Sai Noi whrre we live !
    My English husband said that if the Thai Governments put ‘SPEED CAMERAS’ on all the roads even those in the provinces, the Thai Governments will be very rich !
    Traffic polices should be out on the roads & be very strict with the laws, those who break the laws give them a really ‘HEAVY FINE’, take away their drving licence band from driving for a year, those can’t to pay fine lock them up untill they can get someone to bail them also off course take their driving licence away also ban from driving fora year !
    I have been to many countries, Thailand seem to have so many rude, selfish & no manners motorists. I believed the Thai Governments can change the systems for better & Thailand will be a better place to live, drivers don’t only think about themselves.

  2. One of the biggest mistakes in Thailand (amongst many others) is the awful, dangerous habit of blacking out the windows on cars. This makes visibility very restricted, particularly during the Dawn and Dusk periods. Because their visibility is restricted, they switch on their headlights and foglights! When it rains, visibility is reduced even further.

    Then, despite having restricted windows, they cover the windscreens with flowers and other objects!
    Rear windscreens are, again, often covered with objects.

  3. Tints are indeed a safety hazard, but addressing single issues will have no significant effect on Thailand’s road death toll.
    The country needs to adopt a holistic long term approach that addresses all aspects of road rsafety.
    Vehicle standards
    Driver education
    Emergency services

  4. I’m trying to do simulations of traffic (Thailand vs. US). They aren’t very good yet, but I am fascinated by Thai traffic. It seems to flow like water. Thai drivers seem to be more polite and aware of each other. They are more courteous and allow each other to take liberties. They have more freedom on the road, which allows them to prevent traffic jams by making a new lane when necessary (a general quality of Asian traffic apparently). It’s no wonder that recent studies have shown that Americans spend more time in traffic than any other people.

    I have never driven in Thailand myself. Even if I were accustomed to the driving side being opposite, my instincts are just wrong and inadequate. Americans know how to follow the rules of the road, and that’s about all they CAN do given how extortionate the local police are. It’s no wonder Americans think Asians are bad drivers, but the truth is that the driving culture is simply different: Asians are used to having more freedom on the roads, while Americans need lots of rules so that they always feel safe.

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