Songkran is a dangerous time on Thailand’s roads – and Phuket is no exception – due to the fact that millions of people go home to their families before the festival and return afterwards, and because many people are drunk throughout the festival.
Lt Gen Ruangsak Jariteak, Deputy Commissioner of the RTP has announced through the Thai press that police will be out in force, trying to lower the road toll below previous numbers.
He said that during the Songkran Seven Days of Danger in the past three years, there was an average of 437 accidents a day, with 42 people killed each day and 468 injured.
Police are urging people not only to cut down on alcohol consumption during the holiday but also not to annoy, cause trouble or injure others while taking part in the water battles that are one of the big attractions of Songkran.
The Director-General of the National Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Chatchai Promlert, has specifies three primary measures to reduce accidents during the Seven Days of Danger.
The first is a crackdown on drunk driving and speeding, with police setting up road blocks on main roads, backed up with emergency medical services for those who do get into accidents.
Second, control of traffic, particularly on major highways in and out of Bangkok, will be monitored 24 hours a day so that any problems can be addressed swiftly.
Third, there will be a free car safety checks for those who want them – with mechanics checking brakes, steering and suspension.
In Phuket the checks will be available throughout the Seven Days in four places: at the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department on Damrong Rd, and Phuket Technical College on Yaowarat Rd (both in Phuket Town); at the petrol station near Wichit Municipality on Chao Fa East Rd; and at Thalang Technical College on the airport road.