BANGKOK – Thailand’s Interior Minister presided over the opening of the Road Safety Centre, set up during the Songkran Thai New Year holiday to prevent and cut the number of road accidents.
The centre will operate from April 11-17 when a mass exodus of people travel home upcountry for the Thai New Year celebrations with their families and return to work next week.
Interior Minister Gen. Anupong Paochinda as a chairman of the road safety committee said that the government has launched the campaign for motorists to refrain from drunk driving, speeding or using drugs that caused most road accidents last year.
Among measures to cut road accidents and fatalities, he said officials will implement law strictly, focusing on main and secondary roads with high records of road accidents.
The minister added that people can celebrate the traditional New Year without alcohol by preserving Thai culture, making merit, chanting prayers, and paying respected to the elderly.
Meanwhile, traffic is escalating on highways and railways leading to regions in Thailand as people are traveling back to their homes to celebrate the Songkran festival.
In Chai Nat province, more vehicles were running on Highway 32, aka Asian Highway, towards the North. Many vehicles were trucks because the Land Transport Department would temporarily ban them on highways on April 11-17 to reduce risks of traffic accidents during the Songkran holiday.
For Highway 2 or Mitraparp Highway in Nakhon Ratchasima province which is the gateway to the Northeast, provincial police chief Pol Maj Gen Wacharin Boonkong suggested motorists avoid the highway’s bottleneck section near the Lam Takhong dam in Si Khiu district or they would waste 5-7 hours in traffic jams there. He recommended a faster detour through Saraburi province and Thep Sathit district of Chaiyaphum province.
In the southern province of Songkhla, first-class train tickets were fully booked until April 20 at the Hat Yai junction station.
At the border checkpoint of Mae Sot district in Tak province, Myanmar workers were overpowering immigration officers to undergo procedures to return to their soil. Local officials believed at least 100,000 Myanmar workers would leave Thailand through the passage in this Songkran festival.