BANGKOK – Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwon has ordered the Royal Thai Police to charge speeding and drunk motorists who cause fatal accidents during the Songkran holiday with murder.
Speaking from the Defense Ministry yesterday Gen Prawit said “I am worried that speeding and drink driving can kill others. We must try to reduce deaths from these causes. So, anyone who violates speed limits or drives under the influence and causes death will be held responsible for murder.”
The new measure would add to other measures earlier introduced to boost road safety during Songkran, he said. Other measures include impounding the vehicles of drunk drivers.
He did confirm that Songkran revelers will be allowed to travel around on the back of pickup trucks as usual.
“Let it go for now,” said Gen Prawit, who is also the defense minister.
Despite the intense road safety campaign for the Songkran festival in April last year, Songkran’s “Seven Dangerous Days counted an appalling toll of 418 people dying on Thailand’s roads compared to the prior year of 390.
Songkran 2018 also saw a higher number of injured people with 3,897 cases in 3,724 road accidents. Last year, 3,808 people were injured in 3,690 road crashes.
Most of the road carnage this Songkran stemmed from drunk-drivers (40 percent) and speeding (26 percent). 80 percent of accidents involved motorcycles and 65 percent took place on straight roads.
Traffic accidents killed 20,169 people in Thailand last year, according to official statistics.