By The Nation
But before the celebrations begin, authorities came forward yesterday to advise the public about permitted and prohibited activities.
“We will be lenient with the ban on passengers in pickup beds but drivers must be very careful, especially when applying the brakes,” Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said.
He added that motorcyclists and pillion riders must wear safety helmets.
“Those travelling in cars must have safety belts too,” he added.
Prayut also urged people to not criticise officials who would be strictly enforcing traffic laws for road safety.
The festive season is often plagued with road casualties and every year authorities have declared two periods known as the “seven dangerous days” – during the international New Year’s period and Songkran holidays – to remind people that they should be careful and help promote road safety.
For the coming period, the perilous period has been designated by authorities as running from tomorrow to January 3.
Prayut encouraged passengers to help take care of drivers because they were in charge of their safety.
Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department director-general Chayaphon Thitisak said that sitting in the beds of pickups would be allowed during the holidays because the government understood people had |travelled in such a fashion for a long time.
Chayaphon added, however, that people riding in pickups should not sit on the edges of the truck bed or drink alcohol.
He said his department’s main mission for New Year was encouraging people to respect traffic laws.
“We will use every social measure to prevent accidents on the roads during the holidays,” he said. “We encourage communities and families to look after one another and make sure everyone is complying with road safety regulations.”Provincial Police Region 1 commissioner Pol Lt-General Suwat Chaengyodsuk said speeding, drunk driving, the use of mobile phones while driving and driving while drowsy were of particular concern.
Deputy Metropolitan Police Commissioner Pol Maj-General Panurat Lakboon said if people found suspicious items or felt unsafe, they should alert police via the hotline 191 or the police “I lert u” app.
He also warned New Year revellers against lighting fireworks or firecrackers.
“If your fireworks or firecrackers hurt other people’s rights, you will face up to three years in jail and/or a fine of Bt60,000,” Panurat said.