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Songkran exacts its yearly toll in souls

NATIONWIDE: Drink-driving continued unabated over Songkran despite authorities’ attempts to curb what was the leading cause of road deaths over the extended Songkran holidays.

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By Bangkok Post

Tuesday 17 April 2018, 09:32AM


This crash in Ayutthaya of an Ubon Ratchathani-to-Bangkok bus send 29 passengers to the hospital. The bus driver was found to have taken methamphetamines and will be charged with reckless driving. Photo: Bangkok Post

This crash in Ayutthaya of an Ubon Ratchathani-to-Bangkok bus send 29 passengers to the hospital. The bus driver was found to have taken methamphetamines and will be charged with reckless driving. Photo: Bangkok Post

The 3,001 accidents, 323 deaths and 3,140 injuries over the first five of the “Seven Deadly Days” of the Songkran festival exceeded last year’s totals of 2,980, 305 and 3,059, respectively.

Cases of drinking and driving during April 11-15 stood at 6,541, with Chiang Rai recording the highest number, with 455 incidents, followed by Maha Sarakham with 394, and Surin with 313.

On April 15 alone, 3,456 incidents of driving under the influence were reported by the department.

In Bangkok, a total of 37 people were forced to wear electronic monitoring devices as part of a Department of Probation program after being found guilty of drinking and driving.

Electronic tagging has been introduced on a limited trial basis in Bangkok and is imposed under court orders.

Department chief Prasarn Mahaleetrakul said the offenders must wear ankle bracelets and are not permitted to leave their home area between 10pm and 4am for 15 days. Violators will be subject to further punishment including prison sentences.

The offenders are also required to do 24 hours of community service and report to authorities four times over 12 months, he said.

According to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), a total of 10,099 motorcycles and cars were seized and 113,450 drivers of motorcycles, and 69,898 drivers of public transport vehicles and private cars were booked during April 11-15.

On Sunday (Apr 15) alone, a total of 52,698 traffic offences, including drink-driving, were committed by motorcycle drivers and 41,443 offenders were booked. A total of 2,069 motorcycles and 2,999 driving licences were seized.

For public transport vehicles and private cars, a total of 38,956 traffic offences were committed on the same day with 24,936 offenders booked. A total of 3,544 driving licences and 814 vehicles were seized.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon yesterday (Apr 16) urged authorities to strictly enforce traffic laws throughout the year to prevent road accidents and save lives.

He ordered the Interior Ministry to use these records to work out a better plan to cope with traffic accidents and raise public awareness about road safety.

Gen Prawit’s concerns came as bus terminals and train stations in Bangkok were packed with tens of thousands of holiday-makers returning to the capital for work.

Extra buses and trains were provided to cope with peak demand and heavy traffic jams were reported on all major highways including Mittraprap Highway.

The road toll climbed again yesterday with two major accidents in Ayutthaya and Phitsanulok.

In Ayutthaya, 29 passengers were hurt when an inter-provincial passenger bus travelling from the Northeast to Bangkok plunged into a ditch in Bang Pa-in district yesterday morning.

The bus, carrying almost 50 passengers, veered off Phahon Yothin Rd at kilometre marker 53 and plunged into the ditch dividing the road. The accident occurred in tambon Chiang Rak Noi, Bang Pa-in district around 9am, police said.

The impact injured 29 passengers – 19 women, nine men and one boy. They were taken to two nearby hospitals.

A police investigation found that the bus, operated by Cherd Chai Tour Co, left northeastern Ubon Ratchathani province at 6pm on Sunday for Bangkok.

A monitoring device showed the bus was travelling at 70km/h at the time of the accident.

In Phitsanulok, two people were burned to death when a car they were travelling in caught fire after hitting a roadside tree in Muang district in the early hours.

The fatal crash occurred on Highway 126 at Ban Krang intersection in tambon Plai Chumphon shortly after midnight, police said.

Three fire trucks were called to the scene to combat the blaze that had engulfed the Toyota car. Firemen took more than 20 minutes to extinguish the flames.

The driver and the female passenger were found burned beyond recognition inside what was left of the car.

Meanwhile, City Hall reported yesterday that 101.5 tons of garbage were collected during April 12-16 in Phra Nakhon district which houses Khao San Rd, one of the city’s Songkran venues.

The amount of garbage rose by 68 tons from last year.

About 384,000 litres of water was used to clean up the district this year, an increase of 294,00 litres on last year’s clean-up.

According to the officials, this large amount of water was needed because revellers sneaked in talcum which had to be removed from the road.

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crispy | 17 April 2018 - 10:40:27

This will continue to happen unless you change the public perception of drink driving so that it is not ok to speed and drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol and until the attitude changes the road toll will continue to rise .       

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