The authorities say the week-long holiday season is hampered by an increase in crashes, deaths and injuries as the Thais travel to friends and family.
Efforts to combat the causes of these crashes – drunken driving, corrupt police and generally poor enforcement of traffic laws – have so far proved ineffective. According to the country's Disaster Prevention and Control Department, between 27 December and 2 January, a total of 463 people died in 3,791 traffic accidents, quite on par with the 423 deaths in the previous year.
Lack of enforcement
One of the biggest obstacles to safer roads is the poor enforcement of traffic rules. The Department of Transportation Safety in Thailand of the Ministry of Interior stated that the majority of deaths during the New Year (41.5%) were due to drunk driving and 28% to pace.
The northern province of Chiang Mai, which has reported the second largest number of incidents in this New Year period with 16 deaths, is a typical example.
In recent years, the number of police stations in the provincial capital of the same name has increased, and there is more evidence that motorcyclists must wear helmets.
In many areas of the city, however, traffic blocks seem to be more about money than road safety. It is common for drivers in Chiang Mai to be stopped by the police because they did not issue a driver's license or wear a helmet just to jump on their bikes and drive away as soon as they have paid a "fine".
Nikorn Jumnong The former Deputy Secretary of Transportation and chairman of the People's Safety Foundation told CNN that to improve traffic safety, this type of corruption must stop.
"This is one of our main problems, and it's a Corrupt law enforcement see loopholes (in law) and commuters do not follow the law," he said.
In addition to the failure to wear helmets and seat belts, driving too fast, drunk driving, and the lack of restraints on children are among the greatest risks to road safety.
"We need to change the DNA (of the country) and our instinct to follow the law," Nikorn said. "Education in the law enforcement field is key, we have so many laws and I think they are good and more than enough, but it's all about enforcement."
Thailand is making progress. In the last WHO report, the number of people killed in the road dropped from 36.2 per 100,000 people in 2015 to 32.7 out of 100,000.
Thailand is not the only nation struggling to make its roads safer. The risk of death in traffic is three times higher in poorer countries than in wealthier countries.
"We know what interventions work, and strong policies and enforcement, intelligent street design, and powerful public education campaigns can save millions of lives over the next few decades."
The WHO report points out that some progress has been made in areas such as legislation. However, it was not fast enough to reach the UN goal of halving the number of traffic fatalities between 2016 and 2020.