THE ROAD Safety Operations Centre announced yesterday that the first four days of Songkran’s “Seven Dangerous Days” saw 2,232 road accidents, 237 deaths and 2,322 injured, an improvement over the same period last year when 2,444 accidents were reported with 260 deaths and 2,537 injured.
His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn, meanwhile, expressed concern over the loss of lives during the Songkran festival, Colonel Sirichan Ngathong, a junta spokesperson, said.
She said the government and the junta had taken note of the King’s concerns and would take appropriate action.
Meanwhile, Pol Lt-General Damrongsak Kittiprapat told the press that 567 road accidents had taken place yesterday, killing 59 and injuring 598. The highest number of accidents were recorded in the northernmost province of Chiang Rai, at 21; while Chachoengsao saw the highest number of deaths at four. Chiang Rai and Roi Et saw the highest number of injured persons at 20 each.
Drunk driving was blamed for most of the accidents (42.86 per cent) yesterday, followed by speeding (25.40 per cent), he said, adding that 78.31 per cent of the accidents involved motorcycles. Most crashes, or 67.55 per cent, took place on straight roads; 37.74 per cent on local roads; and 37.39 per cent on highways.
He said most of the accidents yesterday took place on roads leading to communities, where people marked the water-throwing festival by drinking. Most of the accidents, 29.1 per cent, took place between 4pm and 8pm, while most of the victims were 50 years of age and over (22.22 per cent).
He added that 65,337 security officials have been deployed to man 2,039 checkpoints, where 1,072,767 vehicles were searched. Damrongsak said of the 238,111 people facing prosecution, 65,349 were caught for not wearing helmets, while 58,950 were for driving without a licence.
The 12 provinces that have not seen deaths through road accidents during the first four days of Songkran are Trang, Trat, Nakhon Nayok, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Prachin Buri, Phang Nga, Mae Hong Son, Samut Songkhram, Samut Sakhon, Sukhothai, Angthong and Amnat Charoen.
Since the start of Songkran, the highest number of accidents took place in Nakhon Si Thammarat (81), while the highest death toll was in Nakhon Ratchasima and Udon Thani (11 each). The highest number of wounded was in Nakhon Si Thammarat (82).
For the rest of the “Seven Dangerous Days”, the centre has ordered provincial authorities to reinforce checks on motorists and prevent road accidents by focusing on motorcyclists and drunk drivers.
The RSOC was set up under the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation to handle accidents during Songkran, and it comprises representatives from police, Interior Ministry and other concerned authorities.
Pawin Chamniprasart, deputy permanent secretary for Interior Ministry, said some people have |started returning home, so authorities should |facilitate their return by arranging public transport |and rest areas.