CHIANG RAI -Deputy national Police chief Pol Gen Chalermkiat Sriworakhan and Provincial Police Region 5 deputy commissioner Pol Maj-General Prayat Boonsri have visited public service and drugs interception checkpoints in Chiang Rai.
The objectives of the visit were to offer moral support to officials on duty during the Songkran holiday and observe crime and accident prevention efforts. Pol Gen Chalermkiat instructed officials to keep a close watch on motorists with accident-prone habits, namely speeding, ignoring traffic signs, using a cellphone while behind the wheel, and driving under the influence.
The number of traffic accidents in Chiang Rai between 11 and 14 April was recorded at 58. Seven people were killed and 59 others were injured. Authorities have confiscated 295 vehicles from drunk drivers.
The deputy national police chief also asked officers to do their best to facilitate the public and watch out for drug traffickers who might seek the opportunity to smuggle drugs into the province during the long holiday.
Drink-driving remained the major cause of crashes at 33.8%, followed by speeding at 30.3%. Most accidents involved motorcycles, at 80.4%, followed by pickup trucks at 9.7% nation wide.
Carnage on the roads at Songkran underlines the fact that Thailand has the second-worst road safety record in the world, according to United Nations records. Only Libya has more traffic deaths per capita.
Chatchai Promlert, director-general of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, said officials had been deployed nationwide to facilitate traffic movement as Songkran revellers started to return home on Saturday, causing congestion on all main roads.
He urged motorists to give full cooperation to authorities manning road checkpoints, exercise caution while driving and obey traffic rules.
A total of 81,541 people have been arrested and 4,609 vehicles impounded at road-safety checkpoints across the country as part of the governmentâ€™s anti-drinking campaign over Songkran.