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Songkran six-day road toll hits 277

THERE WERE 277 deaths and 2,926 injuries in 2,754 road accidents nationwide in the first six days of Songkran.

The Road Safety Directing Centre reported the figures yesterday, while the Probation Department revealed that 1,737 drunk drivers caught during Songkran were put on probation.

Caretaker Deputy Interior Minister Visarn Techateerawat said there were 173 more accidents and 143 more injuries than the same period last year, while there were nine fewer deaths.

Chiang Mai had the highest number of accidents and injuries (107 and 118), while Nakhon Ratchasima had the highest number of deaths (13).

Seven provinces were fatality free - Amnat Charoen, Chai Nat, Phetchaburi, Lop Buri, Ang Thong, Phang Nga and Yala.

On Wednesday, 29 people were killed and 283 injured in 273 accidents nationwide.

Drunk driving was the main cause of accidents (32.60 per cent) followed by speeding (30.77 per cent). Most accidents involved motorcycles (80.77 per cent), followed by pickup trucks (11.54 per cent).

Most accidents took place between 4pm and 8pm and most victims (45.83 per cent) were of working age (20-49).

The 66,865 officials manning 2,279 checkpoints stopped 670,825 vehicles and arrested or fined 104,211 people for traffic violators - most of whom failed to wear a helmet (30,948) or failed to present a driver's licence (29,596).

Probation Department chief Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol said that from Friday to Wednesday the courts put 1,924 traffic law violators on probation - including 1,737 drunk drivers. She revealed that the drunk-driving cases were significantly lower than last year's 4,600 cases.

Of the drunk drivers on probation, 11 were ordered to wear electronic monitoring bracelets. Nine of them were instructed by northern Bangkok's District Court not to travel outside the remand area from 10pm to 4am for seven days. Bangkok had the most motorists put on probation (267) followed by Maha Sarakham (256), Lop Buri (235), Nonthaburi (154) and Nakhon Phanom (99).

Deputy police spokesman Anucha Romyanant said 4,358 houses nationwide were placed under police guardianship during Songkran, while the campaign to crackdown on criminals during Songkran resulted in the arrests of more than 9,800 suspects with arrest warrants issued against them.

Meanwhile, a Chiang Mai-Mae Hong Son bound bus overturned yesterday morning near the entrance to Ob Luang National Park in Chiang Mai's Hot district, killing four people and injuring 10 - four seriously.

Police are investigating the accident, which reportedly involved a motorcycle.


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