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Thailand’s Deadly Roads and the Global Pandemic of Traffic Crashes

A total of 463 people died in 3,791 traffic crashes in Thailand between December 27, 2018 and January 2 of 2019. Yes, you read correctly. In the span of seven days, 463 people lost their lives during the country’s “seven dangerous days” over the New Year holiday when Thais were traveling to visit friends and family for the one week festival. This was an increase to 2017’s 423 deaths during the “seven dangerous days”.

Thailand’s roads are the deadliest roads in Southeast Asia. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 22,941 people die each year in traffic crashes in Thailand. That’s an average of 62 deaths per day. 73% of those deaths are people riding motorcycles, which have become the most popular form of transportation for many households. Thailand is also ranked 2nd in the world for most lethal roads after Libya by the World Health Organization. Their road collision-related death rate is 32.7 out of every 100,000 people. In Libya, in 2015 their reported rate was 73.4 deaths out of every 100,000 people. In United States an estimated 40,100 people were killed in 2017 with a current death rate of 12.4 out of every 100,000 people. But understand that even though United States has a higher total of traffic crashes per year than Thailand it has a lesser rate because United States has an overall population of 325.7 million whereas Thailand has a population of 69.04 million.

Why is Thailand’s traffic fatality rate so high? One of the noted obstacles to safer roads is lack of enforcement of traffic rules. Drunk driving and speeding are the most reported causes of crashes. In addition to drunk driving and speeding, the failure to wear helmets and seatbelts and the lack of restraints for children are among the biggest risks for road safety that is embedded in the culture. Cultural habits can be difficult to change. The number of police traffic stops have increased in certain areas and there have been more signs mandating motorcyclists to wear helmets, but are those the only factors when it comes to tackling this problem, especially if they have proven to not be efficient enough?

Road safety is a worldwide issue that is not addressed enough. Road crashes have been labeled a global pandemic by the Pulitzer Center and are the eighth leading cause of death for people of all ages, with 1.35 million people dying on the road in 2016. These crashes and untimely deaths are preventable.  Globally, there are proper measures to approach this great issue that requires a collaboration of disciplines:

  • Policies and enforcement in regards to proper speed limits, alcohol impairment, seat-belt use, child restraints, and safety helmets.
  • Adequate road design and transportation facilities (bicycle, pedestrian, motorcycles, and transit). When possible separate motor vehicles from more vulnerable modes such as people walking and biking. Promoting safer and more efficient travel for all users: motorists, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Placing traffic calming and proper signage.
  • Encouraging and implementing the use of safe and flexible modes of public transportation.
  • Powerful public awareness campaigns
  • Making vehicles more protective and visible for occupants, pedestrians, and cyclists. Using high-mounted brake lights and reflective materials on cycles, carts, rickshaws and other non-motorized forms of transport.

For something so preventable, traffic crashes in Thailand and around the world really need a bigger outcry.

Jazmin Kimble is an Urban Planner and Urban Designer  from Long Island, NY. She has a passion for empowering and planning adequate, equitable communities through the lens of Geodesign, Urban Design, Community Development, Architectural Design, Sustainability, Environmental Solutions, and Community Engagement. Jazmin believes the culture and the history of a community is what makes it unique. This approach allows her to design with communities from a holistic viewpoint.

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The importance of Financial Stability

Individuals and families are faced with the challenges of an economic crisis, while trying to maintain or achieve financial stability. Majority of people in the United States are either low and middle class, while 1% includes the upper class that makes up 40% of the nation’s wealth. In addition, almost 80% of families live paycheck to paycheck and are unable to maintain financial stability in the event of an emergency. For many this means receiving financial aid from federal, state or private funded programs.

One common goal for many individuals and families is to obtain financial stability; but, how can you achieve this goal, when you consistently face economic challenges? Many families are faced with limited income due to the lack of personal savings. No one’s situation is the same; however, many are faced with similar circumstances. Financial stability can also affect businesses.

What does this mean? This means that everyone is trying to survive economic loss without compromising their lifestyle. There will always be economical challenges, however individuals and families need to better prepare financially in the event of an emergency.

Financial Stability is being able to still pay your debts, bills, personal savings, financial goals and savings in the event of an emergency. One way to achieve this goal, is by implementing the following steps below:

• Make your finances personal
• Understand that the most important investment is yourself
• Earn income by doing something you enjoy
• Start a budget
• Live below your means
• Create an emergency fund
• Pay off your debt
• Invest for retirement
• Make sure you have some fun
• Stick with it!

Take charge of your personal finances to live life on your terms without living paycheck to paycheck. This seems like an unreachable dream, but it is very much within your reach. While I won’t make specific recommendations here, your local library has books that can help you reach your financial goals and add some financial stability to your household. Use the resources available to you to lighten the burden during economically hard times.

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New Year – Same Goal!

Happy New Year! I hope that your holidays were absolutely perfect and you are walking boldly into and excited about the year ahead of you.

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As you know, the onset of a new year is a time to reflect on the past, prepare for the present, and make plans for the future. Things are no different at Nspiregreen. While we relish in our success from the previous year, we realize that there are certainly opportunities for improvement in our business. One area that we are consistently working on is relationship building.

I have a confession. I am a business card hoarder. I can count the number of untouched business cards that I have collected at events over the years. Each of these cards represents an opportunity for a new relationship and opportunity for collaboration. Admittedly, sometimes the day to day of the business gets in the way of that followup; but, I, Chanceé, vow to do better this year. In fact, I have set aside weekly time just for this. It’s one of a few improvement areas that I am stretching into and certainly one where I think many of us can do a bit better.

What about you? Is there an area of improvement that you want to focus on for your business? What is it and how are you approaching it? Tell us about it in the comments.

Focus on making this your best year yet!

 Chanceé Lundy Russell is the Co-Founder of Nspiregreen LLC a community, multimodal, and environmental planning firm based in Washington, DC. The Selma, Alabama native received her BS in Environmental Science from Alabama A&M University and her MS in Civil Engineering from Florida State University. She is passionate about environmental justice issues and works to create healthy, livable communities for all.

 





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