Thailand Accident Research Center


Establishment of Accident Research Program, Thailand Accident Research Center (TARC)

โครงการวิจัยการสืบค้นหาสาเหตุการเกิดอุบัติเหตุและการฟื้นฟูสภาพการเกิด อุบัติเหตุ
Sponsor:  Department of Highways, Thailand, Thailand Global Road Safety Partnership, Volvo Cars Cooperation
Status:  Completed
Project period:  2005-2007

Road traffic accidents are inflicting heavy burden on Thailand economy as majority of the victims are from the economically active segments of the population. It was estimated that every hour there are approximately two deaths due to road accidents and several injured or crippled for rest of their lives. Recognizing the alarming road safety situation in Thailand and the need of road safety improvements to help alleviate the situation, the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) of Thailand with the World Bank assistance initiated in 1995 with a consultant study. This study based on the available accident data, estimated the economic losses due to road accidents are more than 100,000 Million Baht per year. This means over 12 Million Baht per hour.

Alarmed by the findings of the study, under the World Bank loan assistance, MOTC has developed a comprehensive road safety master plan in 1998. The master plan vividly mentioned that lack of knowledge of accidents as one of constraints for road safety improvement in Thailand. In particular, accident knowledge on how, when, where, and if possible contributory factors to why they happen is essential for effective road safety improvement. Existing road safety research in Thailand seems to be very limited and fragmented. Accordingly, recognizing the urgent needs of accident knowledge and research, the Thailand Road Safety Master Plan, among others, identified the need for establishing a Thailand Accident Research Center (TARC) as a priority in its long-term action plan. However, due to lack of funds, know-how and resources, it has not yet been initiated. Recently hopes were renewed, with the official launch of Thailand GRSP as a partnership together with the government, private sector and academic institutes, under the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) umbrella, which was initiated by the World Bank’s “Business Partners for Development (BPD)” program.

Rationale for Accident Research Center in Thai Context

The Thailand Road Safety Master Plan recommends that due to the complex nature of road accidents and the many different sectors involved in the operation of road safety, local research is required to provide a scientific and objective approach to reduce the suffering and losses caused by road accidents. To be able to better understood, the problems have to be put and interpreted in the Thai context and solutions adapted to the conditions in Thailand and accepted by the Thai society have to be found.

Furthermore, Master Plan made a strong recommendation that the best results of the research are achieved when it is carried out in an academic community, such as an university or a research institute and if possible, independent of the authorities responsible for implementing road safety measures. Another important point is that research is a long term and learning process. It is therefore preferably combined with education and training to transfer the knowledge gained by research to new generations of students.

The purpose of road safety research is to acquire know-how about the mechanisms behind the accidents and the incidence of personal injuries to develop suitable solutions and to achieve better road safety. If the findings of the research are not transferred into real changes in the road traffic system, the value of research is limited. For this reason it is very important to have an excellent cooperation between the researchers, the authorities, and agencies responsible for road safety improvement.

In view of the Thailand Road Safety Master Plan recommendations, the present proposal to establish a Thailand Road Accident Research Center on partnership basis between academic societies, government agencies and private sector partners is a very significant and positive step in this direction. The decision of Thailand GRSP Steering Group to have this accident research center located at the reputed Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) is also in line with the Thailand Master Plan recommendations.

The objectives and scope of the works in this project are particularly emphasis on conducting a pilot research study in support of the establishment of the Thailand Accident Research Center (TARC) as well as to communicate and promote to the general public to be recognized of its activities.

Specific objectives during this phase are as follows:

  • To acquire know-how about the mechanisms of accidents and the incidence of personal injuries to develop suitable solutions and to achieve better road safety,
  • To build up the network of road accident researchers and analysts for Thailand,
  • To develop a scientific approach for road accident data collection leading to objective analysis to achieve more effective road safety measures,
  • To conduct in-depth study on road accidents emphasizing on accident reconstruction research,
  • To develop a reliable database on road accident which can be applicable to other related activities, e.g. the development of more effective and up-to-date counter measures for road accidents