The Nation



Road deaths, injuries higher in first 3 days of break

A total of 1,322 road accidents on the first three of the "seven dangerous days" of the New Year holiday period claimed 161 lives and caused 1,390 injuries, the Road Safety Centre reported yesterday.

These three days saw millions travel upcountry and traffic jams were common. The 'gateway to the Northeast', Nakhon Ratchasima, saw the highest accumulated deaths at 15, plus 62 people injured in 51 accidents.

Figures across the board were slightly higher than in the same three-day period last year, when 1,321 accidents killed 147 people and injured 1,361 others.

Only two provinces this year - Chaiyaphum and Samut Songkhram - had no accidents.

Dr Amnuay Gajeena, deputy permanent secretary of the Public Health Ministry, said there were 456 accidents on Sunday alone, killing 75 people and injuring 503 others.

The highest proportion of accidents were caused by drunk drivers (39 per cent), and speeding (30 per cent).

Motorcyclists most at risk

Most accidents involved motorcycles, at 78 per cent. They mostly took place on a straight highway section (60 per cent) and occurred between 4pm and 8pm, while the victims were mostly of working age (61 per cent).

Some 2,261 main checkpoints, were manned by 65,009 officials, who charged just over 100,000 people for violating traffic laws. Most failed to show a driver's licence (30,479 cases) or rode motorbikes without helmets (27,762 cases), Amnuay said.

Now that most people have reached their destinations, such as home towns or tourist sites, and started their celebrations, officials have been instructed to set up checkpoints for drunk drivers, speeding motorists and motorcyclists without helmets, especially yesterday and today, Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department chief Chatchai Phromlert said.

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