Abstract Background A major barrier to addressing the problem of transport injury in low to middle-income countries is the lack of information regarding the incidence of traffic crashes and the demographic, behavioural and socio-economic determinants of crash-related injury. This study aimed to determine the baseline frequency and distribution of transport injury and the prevalence of various road safety behaviours in a newly recruited cohort of Thai adults. Methods The Thai Health-Risk Transition Study includes an ongoing population-based cohort study of 87,134 adult students residing across Thailand. Baseline survey data from 2005 includes data on self-reported transport injury within the previous 12 months and demographic, behavioural and transportation factors that could be linked to Thailand's transport risks. Results Overall, 7279 (8.4% or 8354 per 100,000) of respondents reported that their most serious injury in the 12 months prior to recruitment in the cohort was transport-related, with risk being higher for males and those aged 15–19 years. Most transport injuries occurred while using motorcycles. A much higher proportion of males reported driving after three or more glasses of alcohol at least once in the previous year compared to females. The prevalence of motorcycle helmet and seat belt wearing in this sample were higher than previously reported for Thailand. Conclusions The reported data provide the basis for monitoring changes in traffic crash risks and risk behaviours in a cohort of adults in the context of ongoing implementation of policy and programs that are currently being introduced to address the problem of transport-related injury in Thailand.