TAK – Thailand’s roads are among the world’s deadliest and accidents are common, especially on buses traveling late at night. A Double-Decker bus carrying municipal workers on a field trip plunged off a steep road and into a ravine, killing at least 30 people and injuring 22 others.
The accident took place at around 8:40 pm local time (1340 GMT) in Tak, which borders Myanmar, as several buses ferried Thai local government workers to neighboring provinces for a field trip. The driver who survived the accident said the brakes failed as the bus came downhill on a hilly road and it crashed through the concrete barrier and fell into 150 meter-deep ravine.
Provincial governor Suriya Prasatbunditya said Tak Province known for its treacherous dips and turns where 300 accidents occurred last year. The busy road is used by buses and trucks traveling to and from the border with Myanmar.
The bus was one of four carrying local workers and villagers from Tak on a field to the Northeast and to Laos.
“Accidents happen on this road very often,” Mr Suriya said.
“We’ve put warning signs up to caution road users but the accidents keep happening.”
Caretaker Transport Minister Chatchart Sittipunt said the accident was the result of careless driving, the condition of the bus, and the winding road.
He said the driver told him that he was going downhill in low gear and tried to further slow down the bus but the brakes failed and the bus crashed into the side rail and then toppled into the ravine.
Caretaker Transport Minister Chatchart Sittipunt said relatives of each dead passenger will receive 350,000 baht death compensation, and the injured will each get 50,000 baht, he said.
A recent report by the World Health Organisation said Thailand saw about 38 road deaths per 100,000 people in 2010, behind only the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean and the South Pacific island of Niue.
That compares with an average of 18.5 per 100,000 in Southeast Asia as a whole.
In December,when a bus carrying New Year travellers plunged off one of Thailand’s highest bridges in the country’s northeast.
Officials say roughly 60 percent of traffic accidents in Thailand are caused by human error, with poor road and vehicle conditions posing additional hazards. Alcohol also plays a significant role.