Comparatively, the Seven Days campaign in 2015 saw 57 reported accidents leaving 58 people with injuries – but zero deaths.
“We have not set a target, but I just hope the number will be less than last year. If nobody is killed or injured, it would be good for everyone in Phuket,” Phuket Vice Governor Snith Sriwihok told The Phuket News on Tuesday (April 11).
V/Gov Snith said he welcomed the united effort in tackling road safety in Phuket during the holidays.
“Unity in targeting safety is important,” he told The Phuket News.
“This year, I am glad that Phuket officials are working together with the Phuket Land Transport Office, Royal Thai Army, Phuket Airport, Royal Thai Police and local administrations in raising road-safety awareness – and enforcement – during these holidays, when many people travel home to visit their families,” he said.
“Phuket people welcome this festival when it is observed with humility and respect in accordance with original Thai culture. Don’t lose self-control while having fun, don’t drive recklessly, then we will celebrate Songkran Festival with happiness,” he added.
Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong, who arrived in Phuket to take up the post of Governor only on Monday, began the campaign with a inspection of the road-safety measures in place at the Phuket Checkpoint onto the island at Tha Chatchai, one of 17 checkpoints across the island where officers will be enforcing traffic laws during the seven days.
“Governor Norraphat is today (April 11) inspecting many checkpoints set up across the island. He cares deeply about people’s safety during Songkran, and I am following his focus on this right now,” V/Gov Snith said.
Police across the island will be vigilant for drunk drivers during the campaign, confirmed Phuket Provincial Police Chief Maj Gen Teeraphol Thipjaroen.
“Phuket police actually started their crackdown on drunk driving before the Songkran Festival and we expect our efforts to be more effective this year,” Gen Teeraphol said.
“We are thankful that we have other officials and people supporting us, including local administration officials, Royal Thai Army soldiers and even local residents helping out at the 17 checkpoints,” he added.
This year drunk drivers will not have their vehicles impounded for the duration of the Seven Days campaign, Gen Teeraphol confirmed.
“I have made it clear for my officers to crack down on all drunk drivers- with no exception,” he said.
However, he added, “When the driver has sobered up from being drunk, he can drive his car or motorbike back home. We will not hold the vehicles for the entire Seven Days campaign.”
Regarding safe water play, Gen Teeraphol reconfirmed that police will allow water battles pitched from the back of pickup trucks, but noted that “overzealous” and dangerous behaviour will invoke action from police.
“Officers have been ordered to watch out on the main roads where many people drive at high speed,” Gen Teeraphol said.
“People driving too fast with passengers in the back of the pickup truck will be fined for dangerous driving,” he noted.
“Officers will not be strict on water fights in community areas or near the ‘water play’ zones, but we will be wary of dangerous behaviour. Most people understand and follow the rules, but there are always some people who take it too far – and they will be fined,” he added.
“Please respect the traffic law and traffic signs. I hope everyone has a safe, happy Songkran with no deaths or injuries to report,” Gen Teeraphol said.