New Year death toll rises to 365
The number of deaths caused by road accidents during the so-called seven dangerous days spanning the New Year holiday period has risen by more than 8 per cent to 365 and the number of accidents has also increased by 2.68 per cent compared to the same period last year.Every year, the government declares December 27 to January 2 as the "seven dangerous days" in a bid to promote road safety and reduce road casualties at a time when hundreds, if not thousands, of people hit the road during the New Year holidays.
Yet despite the authorities' all-out efforts, only the number of injuries has dropped this year - by 1.36 per cent - and only six out of 77 provinces have not encountered any fatal road accidents during the period. The provinces are Trat, Nakhon Nayok, Phang Nga, Ranong, Nong Khai and Uttaradit.
"We will reward officials in these provinces as a motivational measure," Deputy Interior Minister Chatt Kuldiloke said yesterday.
According to him, as many as 68,314 officials manned 2,350 major checkpoints across the country. More than 4.7 million vehicles were flagged down, and 688,381 offenders punished for violating traffic laws. Of those caught, 202,893 faced legal action for driving without a licence, while 194,759 others were punished for not wearing a crash helmet.
Official statistics show that 24.39 per cent of the fatalities were caused due to the failure to wear a helmet. The other key reasons for deaths were speeding and drunk driving. Nakhon Pathom recorded the highest number of deaths at 18, while Chiang Mai saw the highest number of injured people at 147 during the period.