Joint effort launched to make 'Seven Dangerous Days' of Songkran holiday safer

national April 11, 2014 00:00

By Jeerapong Prasertpolkrung,

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With the festive Songkran mood in the air, organisations from various sectors have come together to make the upcoming holiday "safe and happy" for everyone.

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday expressed hope that the next seven days would be “days of happiness”, not dangerous days.

“We will work with the private sector, foundations and communities to achieve the goal,” she said.

While millions of Thais celebrate the Songkran Festival with much joy, the festivities usually see a huge number of accidents with heavy casualties.

According to official statistics, road accidents kill about 33 people in Thailand each day on average. The number jumps to 40-50 during long holidays like New Year and Songkran.

In a bid to promote road safety, the Songkran period has been designated the “Seven Dangerous Days” to remind revellers that they need to reduce risk factors while on the roads.

This year, the “Seven Dangerous Days” associated with the Songkran Festival run from today to April 17.

Yingluck yesterday presided over a meeting to plan road-accident prevention measures for the Songkran holiday break.

She said the efforts addressed the issues of where to splash water, how to drive safely, and when to refrain from alcohol consumption.

Yingluck said relevant authorities should also provide useful telephone numbers to people so they know where to turn when in need of help.

As it did last year, the US Embassy has produced a video clip celebrating the Songkran festival. The clip, lasting 1:34 minutes, shows embassy staff dancing along and lip-synching to a Thai song posted on YouTube.

The Public Health Ministry has vowed to put more than 160,000 medical workers on standby at state hospitals across the country to ensure road-accident victims get prompt attention.

“Call 1669 in the event of a medical emergency,” said ministry permanent secretary Narong Sahametapat.

Nakorn Silpa-archa, who heads the Labour Ministry’s Department of Skill Development, said his agency and volunteers would operate vehicle check-and-maintenance service booths across the country between today and April 17.

“Motorists can drop in to get the services plus massages and beverages,” he said.

- For more information on where the booths are located, call (02) 245 3560.

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