THAILAND - A survey has found that about 8 per cent of Thai motorists, mostly in the 18-24 age bracket, drive without a licence.
Nielsen conducted the survey to learn more about driving behaviour and in-car activity after police reports showed that 2012 alone saw as many as 54,341 accidents, with 7,634 deaths, 3,551 people sustaining major injuries and 17,465 with minor injuries.
This indicates that three out of 10 motorists in Thailand have been involved in a motor accident. One of the main reasons has been that the driver is either distracted or does not have his hands on the steering wheel.
"According to the survey, despite having accidents, motorists have not changed their behaviour," said Somwalee Limrachtamorn, Nielsen's director of automotive business.
"Many still change the radio station or switch CDs while driving and continue chatting with their passengers - even though these are the two main causes of road accidents.
"Also, 36 per cent of motorists still use their mobile phone while driving.
"This goes to show that these activities are essential to the motorists and in a way inevitable. Makers of automobiles may take advantage of this by developing new safety features or functions to help mitigate risks from such behaviour and enhance the overall safety performance of their products.
"We must evaluate the sufficiency of the safety measures currently in place and determine what the next steps should be," Somwalee said.
The survey revealed that talking on a mobile phone without using a hands-free device was the greatest cause of motor accidents (11 per cent) - the same as drinking while driving, followed by chatting with passengers and changing radio stations (8 per cent).
As per the survey, most motorists who have been involved in accidents or had a near-accident experience have three to five years' driving experience, followed by those |who have been driving for 11 to 15 years.