How Vehicle Types and Operator’s Legal Status Affect Safety of Interprovincial Buses in Thailand
In urgent response to an unenvied label as the world’ second worst road safety record, the Thai government has begun to ban the use of vans and double-decker buses for intercity bus services and is considering to change the legal status requirement of entities applying for bus operating licenses. This paper examines whether the empirical evidence justifies such policy directions. We use the Poisson and Negative Binomial regression models to examine whether vehicle types and legal status affect safety risks of intercity bus services, focusing on interprovincial routes outside Bangkok. The results confirm that the use of vans and double-decker buses significantly increases fatality risks of interprovincial bus services. But the results produce no evidence to support the claim that formal legal entities provide safer operation. While banning specific vehicle types for bus services is the right policy, our results caution that simply requiring bus operators to obtain formal legal status may not help improve safety performance. More effective policy options should focus on operational characteristics and vehicle standards.