Sunday, 17 April 2016

4/17/2016 06:35:00 pm
Songkran death toll up by 30 % as in 2015.

The first six days of the "seven dangerous days" of Songkran saw 397 people lose their lives in road crashes across Thailand, a 29.74% jump from last year, with drink-driving remaining the major cause of accidents.

A total of 3,104 road accidents occurred nationwide from April 11 to 16, with 3,271 people suffering injuries, said Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith during a press briefing on road safety measures.

The number of accumulated road crashes, deaths and injuries this year was higher than last year. Statistics showed there were a total of 2,915 road accidents, 306 deaths and 3,070 injuries during the same period.

On Saturday alone, there were a total of 380 road accidents which claimed 59 lives and 380 injuries.

Speeding was blamed for the major cause of Saturday’s crashes at 31.05%, followed by drink-driving at 28.16%. Most accidents involved motorcycles at 80.88%, followed by pick-up trucks at 10.08%, said Mr Akhom, citing a report by the road safety centre of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.

Road accidents often occurred on main roads at 69.21% and peak time for crashes was between 4.01pm to 8pm at 26.58%.

On the accumulated road accidents over the past six days, Chiang Mai had the most accidents at 158 as well as the most injuries at 166. Nakhon Ratchasima had the highest number of fatalities at 18.

Five provinces – Trat, Phrae, Yala, Ranong and Nong Bua Lam Phu – reported no road deaths.

A total of 110,909 people have been arrested and 5,772 vehicles impounded at road safety checkpoints across the country between April 9 and 16 as part of the National Council for Peace and Order’s anti-drinking campaign over Songkran, said the transport minister.

Authorities have seized 16,346 driving licenses from drunk drivers. The 5,772 impounded vehicles included 4,353 motorcycles and 1,419 cars.

There were heavy traffic jams on main roads, particularly Bangkok-bound lanes, as holidaymakers returned to the capital on Sunday, the last day of their Songkran holiday, said Mr Arkhom.

Chayapol Thitisak, the interior deputy permanent secretary, said the road safety centre has ordered provincial authorities to deploy more police and volunteers to facilitate traffic as people head back to Bangkok on Sunday. Special traffic lanes would be opened in areas where traffic was congested.

Chatchai Promlert, director-general of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, said road crashes caused by drink-driving showed a sign of reducing, while accidents caused by speeding and cutting in front increased.

He has instructed provincial authorities to increase the number of road checkpoints on main roads to prevent motorists from travelling at high speed.

Dr Pranom Khamthiang, deputy permanent secretary for the Public Health Ministry, said a total of 25,516 people injured in road crashes had received treatment at public hospitals during the Songkran period. Of them, 3,815 were seriously hurt.

She has ordered all public hospitals to prepare medical teams, emergency and operation rooms, blood storage and patient wards around the clock during the Songkran period.

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