SONGKRAN FESTIVITIES kicked off yesterday with 52 deaths and 431 people wounded in 387 road accidents, most of which stemmed from speeding (37 per cent) and drunk driving (27 per cent), the Road Safety Directing Centre said. The number of accidents record
Prachin Buri province reported the highest number of fatalities with six deaths, followed by Buri Ram with five. Meanwhile, Chiang Mai had the highest number of accidents at 19, followed by Udon Thani at 18. The two provinces also reported the highest number of casualties at 23 each, followed by Trang and Phitsanulok at 18 each and Buri Ram at 16.
Assistant National Police chief Pol Lt-General Anan Srihirun said most accidents involved motorcycles (80 |per cent), and occurred between 4pm and 8pm (29 per cent), on high-|ways (44 per cent) and 62.5 per cent on straight roads, he said.
The 2,129 checkpoints manned by 65,440 officials had taken action against 84,727 law violators – most of whom (23,354) failed to show their driver’s licences, he said.
Since many holidaymakers began heading overseas yesterday, officials were instructed to strictly enforce traffic laws and ensure that all public transport drivers were sober.
Meanwhile, Chit Chiewsakul, 36, was arrested early yesterday after allegedly driving his BMW sedan through a police-Army checkpoint on Phaholyothin Road in Phaya Thai in Bangkok despite police signalling him to stop for a search and breath test.
He was later nabbed at the Ari intersection and breathalyser results showed he had 65mg/l of alcohol. The man – later identified as the son of a famous boxing ring owner – was brought to the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court to hear charges of ignoring police signals, failing to show his licence and drunk driving. He was let off with fines but had his car impounded.
In Phitsanulok, 12 vehicles – six cars and six motorcycles – were seized on Monday night from drunk drivers and will be kept at an Army camp until the end of Songkran.
Separately, the Interior Ministry has instructed Dhamrongtham complaint-gathering centres across the nation to stay open around the clock until Monday morning.