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Seven Dangerous Days – 39 Underage Drivers Killed on Roads on Songkran Saturday

Sixty-six people were killed in multiple road accidents around the country on Saturday, which sent the total death toll to 210 for the four days starting last Wednesday, an official update on road casualties said yesterday.

 

CHIANGRAI TIMES –The Road Safety Center said drunk driving remained the major cause of accidents. Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat came top with 10 deaths each and Chiang Rai reported the most cumulative injuries at 106 persons and the most cumulative accidents at 106 incidents.

39 underage drivers were  killed on roads during Songkran on Saturday alone, according to Education Ministry data linking road trauma statistics over the Songkran holiday to students. An inspector-general, Supphakorn Wongprat, said 30,027 minors had been fined or prosecuted among more than 110,000 offenders.

Some 620 other people were also injured in 580 accidents on Saturday. The death toll of 210 may include an unspecified number reported yesterday, according to a government centre campaigning for minimal or zero road deaths over the four-day holiday break.

 

In all, 2,134 accidents had been reported, with 2,288 people in total sustaining various types of injuries.

Phichit reported the most deaths – nine – while Chiang Rai and Nakhon Si Thammarat had the most injuries at 94, the center said.

More than 749,000 vehicles and motorbikes had been stopped at 2,414 checkpoints set up on roads across the country, for vehicle and body searches. Over 112,000 people had been fined or arrested. The most common offenses were not wearing safety helmets and not carrying a driver’s license.

The risk of a large number of accidents and further casualties remains as motorists and commuters are due to return to Bangkok today, Phaijt Warachit, the permanent secretary of the Public Health Ministry, said.

He warned drivers to be careful not to fall asleep, as that problem was often underestimated by those hurrying to get back to the capital today in time for work on Tuesday.

“Drivers should sleep for at least eight hours, and must not drink either the night before or while driving. They should have companions staying awake to keep chatting with drivers and passengers. Drivers should rest every 150 kilometers or every two hours,” he advised.

“There should be a second driver to take over if the first appears drowsy or shows signs of going to sleep, while other passengers should take watch for various symptoms, such as frequent use of brakes and yawning,” he said.

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