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Crash highlights Thai road fatality study

BANGKOK — A week after the release of a study concluding that Thailand has the world’s second-highest road fatality rate, a collision on a provincial highway in the predawn hours on Friday seemed to provide grim corroboration, when 15 people, most of them schoolgirls on a class trip to the beach, were killed after their bus collided with a truck.

Lieutenant Colonel Anukan Thammawichan, a police officer in Prachin Buri, the province northeast of Bangkok where the accident occurred, said the double-decker tour bus carrying the students hit the back of a truck and skidded off the road about 4:30 a.m. Twelve of the people killed were students, Anukan said, and the bus driver fled, a common occurrence in Thailand after a crash. Thai media outlets reported that the driver did not have a license to operate a bus.

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A study released last month by the Transportation Research Institute at the University of Michigan calculated that the 10 countries with the highest road fatality rates were Namibia, Thailand, Iran, Sudan, Swaziland, Venezuela, Congo, Malawi, Dominican Republic, and Iraq.

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