Road traffic injuries are a significant problem in developed and developing countries. The trend of
mortality owing to traffic accidents is increasing in Thailand. The objective of this descriptive study is to
describe the trend and characteristics of risky behavior related to road traffic injuries in Thailand during
the period 1998-2007. The study was conducted by using and analyzing data from the national injury
surveillance database within 28 sentinels, these were reported during the period 1998-2007.
The results show that the proportion of road traffic injuries was the highest of all injuries (51.6%).
The percentage of injuries in the age groups between 15 and 24 years was the highest (33.29%). Most of
the injuries occurred among laborers and student groups (35.0% and 20.1%); 75.7 percent of them were
motorcycle injuries and tended to increase. The highest incidence of injury occurred during the evening
between 6 and 8 o’clock (37.7-40.2%). The most severely traumatized parts of the body were the head and
neck (29.3%). The percentage of alcohol use while driving was 36.4 percent and it was highly used in the
age group 20-29 years (40.1%). The high-risk behavior occurred over the New Year holidays and during
the Thai new year (Songkhran festival) during the months of December-January and April. Further, the
drivers and riders had not used seatbelts and helmets while driving and riding . Only 13 percent used
helmets and 18.6 percent used seatbelts. Those injured were referred by a relative or others in 56.2 of the
cases; only 10.4 percent were referred by EMS, although the tendency is increasing.
This study identified the problem of injuries, especially motorcycle injury in younger persons, which
tends to increase every year. The higher fatality rate may relate to risk behavior involving alcohol use, not
wearing a helmet, or using seatbelts and driving at high speed. Traffic accident prevention requires that
drivers be educated and that the laws be enforced in the high-risk group (mainly younger men).