The Court of Justice in Thailand is warning motorists not to drink before getting behind the wheel during the Songkran festival since the number of accidents caused by drunk drivers over the Songkran holidays has increased over the past two years.
Court of Justice spokesperson Sorawit Limparangsi issued the warning after disclosing the number of Land Traffic Act infractions during the “seven dangerous days” around the Songkran holiday in 2021 and 2022.
In 2021, 13,103 persons were found guilty of traffic code offenses, including 12,213 (or more than 93% of those prosecuted) convicted of drunk driving, 816 caught driving without a license, and 40 found to be driving while under the influence of illegal drugs. A total of 34 people were charged with careless driving that resulted in an accident.
Last year, 17,909 persons were charged with breaching traffic laws, a 28% increase over the previous year. In 2022, 15,609 persons were convicted of drunk driving, 1,274 of driving without a license, 980 of driving while drugs impaired, and 47 of driving negligently.
On the same day, government spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri said Caretaker Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had directed all necessary authorities to help travelers avoid accidents from April 13 to 17.
Deaths During Songkran
According to Mr. Anucha, the Injury Prevention Division of the Disease Control Department reported 1,324 deaths and 110,152 injuries during Songkran Festival from 2018 to 2022. According to the Sirindhorn National Medical Rehabilitation Institute, 872 injured were permanently incapacitated.
According to the Bureau of Highway Safety, the deaths and injuries resulted in a loss of 18.3 billion baht, or 3.6 billion baht on average each year. According to him, most of the Songkran accidents involve people aged 15 to 19.
The government’s efforts to avoid road accidents are in keeping with the 20-year National Strategy goal of reducing the number of injuries and deaths to 12 per 100,000 people by 2027.
“He extends his best wishes to officials and employees in the public and private sectors working over the holidays,” Mr. Anucha added.
Meanwhile, Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (Aerothai) reports that 14,180 domestic and international flights would operate during the Songkran holiday, a 66% increase over the same period last year.
Songkran flights up by 66%
Nopasit Chakpitak, president of Aerothai, announced on Monday that airports throughout Thailand will witness a daily total of 2,026 domestic and international flights from today until April 17.
According to Mr. Nopasit, the airline industry has recovered since the beginning of this year, with Thailand operating an average of 2,000 flights daily, and predicted that flight traffic would gradually increase later this year.
He said that Aerothai could handle the increased number of flights because they had over 3,000 flights per day before the Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the state enterprise has prepared to manage air traffic and assess traffic projections to avoid flight delays.
Meanwhile, during the Thai New Year’s break, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has added 10 more trains to the northern and northeastern routes.
According to Aekkarat Sriarayanpong, the SRT’s public relations director, passenger demand has increased due to people returning to their hometowns or traveling during Songkran, resulting in all trains being fully packed.
Mr. Aekkarat stated that the SRT had added five trains for the northern route and another five for the northeastern line, seating an additional 8,000 people daily.
In addition, during Songkran, the Expressway Authority of Thailand (Exat) waived tolls on five motorways.
Tolls on the Burapha Withi Expressway (Bang Na-Chon Buri) and Kanchanaphisek Road will be free from April 12 to 18. (Bang Phli-Suksawat).
Exat will waive tolls on the Chalerm Maha Nakhon Expressway’s 19 toll booths (first-stage motorways), the Si Rat Expressway’s 31 toll booths (second-stage motorways) and the Udon Ratthaya Expressway’s 10 toll booths (Bang Pa-in — Pak Kret) between April 13 and 15.
Songkran is designated as a national holiday in the new concession agreement reached by Exat, the Bangkok Expressway, Metro Plc, and Northern Bangkok Expressway Co Ltd, according to Exat.