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Road Deaths Increase to 236 on the 4th Day of Thailand’s New Year Holiday

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BANGKOK – The Director-General of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, Prasan Mahaleetrakul said on Monday that on Sunday, the fourth day of the seven-day New Year travel period, there were 561 road accidents which killed 51 people and injured 578 others.

Bringing the total of the first four days of this year’s “seven dangerous days” of the New Years Holiday  to 2,194 road accidents, 236 deaths and 2,265 people injured — with Chiang Mai posting the highest number of accidents, deaths and injuries midway through the week-long travel spree.

An American man in Phuket became the first foreigner killed during the Seven Days of Danger road-safety campaign, the American man, a 39-year-old, died from internal injuries after the motorbike he was riding collided with a passenger van.

The Director General said the most common cause remained drink driving — which led to 42.42% of Sunday’s accidents — followed by speeding (27.99%). Motorcycles were involved in 80.31% of the accidents, followed by pickup trucks (6.39%). The most accident-prone time was between 4pm and 8pm (28.70%).

Checkpoint officials stopped 876,537 vehicles for examination and arrested 177,400 people for violations of the law. Of that number, 51,039 were motorcyclists not wearing crash helmets and 43,799 were unable to present driving licences.

During the four-day period, authorities impounded 2,729 vehicles — 1,945 of them motorcycles from drunk drivers. Courts ordered 33 traffic violators, including drunk drivers, to wear electronic monitoring devices to force them to stay at home late at night to reduce traffic accidents. Most of those forced to wear tags were in Bangkok.

On Sunday the highest number of accidents (23) and the highest number of injured people (24) were in Songkhla province. The one-day highest death toll (5) was in Nakhon Ratchasima.

The figures showed that Thailand’s roads were marginally less lethal than over the same four-day period last year. From Thursday to Sunday, there were 2,194 accidents (compared with 2,308 in the same period last year), 236 deaths (compared with 239) and 2,265 injured people (compared with 2,500 last year).

Over the four days, Chiang Mai showed the highest number of accidents, 77, the joint-highest death toll, 12 (the same as in Nakhon Ratchasima), and the largest number of injured people, 79.

Authorities were studying the information to try to minimise losses when New Year travellers make their return trips on Monday and Tuesday, Mr Prasan said.