The Nation



Road death toll at 334 as holidaymakers head home

As many as 334 people have been killed and 3,041 injured in 2,891 road accidents over six of the so-called "seven dangerous days" of the New Year holiday period, the Road Safety Centre announced yesterday.

Nakhon Ratchasima has the highest cumulative death toll at 21, while Nakhon Sawan has the highest number of injured persons at 121. Nakhon Sawan and Chiang Mai have also reported the highest number of accidents at 111 each.

The number of deaths and injured people has so far exceeded the numbers recorded in the same period last year, which saw 332 deaths and 3,036 injuries in 2,871 accidents, caretaker Deputy Interior Minister Visarn Techateerawat said.

On the positive side, no road-related deaths have been reported in eight provinces, namely Mae Hong Son, Beung Kan, Yasothon, Chai Nat, Trat, Samut Songkhram, Pattani and Phang Nga, he added.

On New Year's Day alone, 68 people were killed and 539 others wounded in 536 road accidents, Visarn said. Drunk driving and speeding were the main causes for the accidents at 51.49 per cent and 24.44 per cent respectively, he said, adding that 81.62 per cent of the accidents involved motorcycles and 8.11 per cent pickup trucks.

Most of the accidents (61.19 per cent) took place on highways and most of the casualties were among working-age people (60.79 per cent).

So far, 65,027 officials manning 2,254 checkpoints nationwide have cited 101,618 traffic-law violators - with 29,212 drivers accused of failing to produce a driver's licence and 27,661 of not wearing a helmet while on a motorbike.

As holidaymakers began travelling back to the capital yesterday, Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department chief Chatchai Phromlert said he had instructed provincial authorities to screen all public transport strictly to ensure passengers' safety.

He has also instructed provincial authorities to crack down on speeding, drunk driving or drivers who doze behind the wheel, especially those heading to Bangkok.

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