Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Road toll soars

Road toll soars

One of the unfortunate side effects of the Songkran festivities in Thailand is the big death toll and injuries that occur each year. People from all over the country go back home during the New Year and many accidents happen during this trek but the majority of accidents happen when driving motorbikes at night whilst drunk. A lot of times by young boys.

When we stayed at Chaweng Police station a few days ago during Songkran day to help out with a family member of my wife having a car/bike collision with a tourist, a story was told to me which happened the previous night and is exemplary, unfortunately, for this time of the year.

A young boy, younger than 20, had his bike taken away by the Police, the night before Songkran, because he was speeding. Two hours later, the same boy was involved in an accident during which he crashed into a car's window. His throat got cut open by the glass and he died because of that.

He's one of the statistics that happen each year in Thailand during Songkran.

Please have a read in the article below from today's Bangkok Post;

The roads have been even more deadly this year, with the death toll at the halfway period of the Songkran festival above last year's figure.

Justice permanent secretary Jarun Pukditanakul said there were 1,018 accidents on Songkran day, Sunday, the third day of the seven-day most dangerous period. This was 5.5 per cent up on last year.

He said 76 people were killed (7 per cent up) and 1,103 people injured (3.9 per cent up).
About 45 per cent of the road accidents involved drink driving and 84 per cent involved motorcycles.

The highest number of accidents (39 per cent) occurred on village roads. Most accidents (57 per cent) happened at night, with 30 per cent between 4pm and 8pm.

Chiang Rai province recorded the highest number of accidents, 50, followed by Phetchabun province with 42.

Chon Buri had the highest road death toll yesterday with five fatalities, and Chiang Mai saw the highest number of people injured in road accidents - 51.

In the first three days, since April 11, there were 2,238 road accidents, 180 deaths and 2,514 injuries.

All the stated figures are higher than last year at the same stage.

Mr Jarun, who heads the government's road safety centre, said most road accidents involved teenage motorcyclists in villages after dark and mainly resulted from drunk driving.

He suggested that parents who let their children violate traffic laws should be punished as well.
Anucha Mokhawet, director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, said since the figures showed that most deaths occurred in the North, he had ordered the governors of the northern provinces to increase the number of road checkpoints.

He said the state should impose a ban on alcohol sales during Songkran because drink driving was the main cause of road accidents during this period.

Earlier, Interior Minister Chalerm Yubamrung suggested that if such a ban is introduced it should only cover two days, the first and the last, of the Songkran holiday since most of the driving is done on these two days.

But Mr Jarun has suggested that the ban be enforced on April 13 and 14 as the casualty toll seem to peak on these two days.

Dr Thaejing Siripanit, secretary-general of the Don't Drive Drunk Foundation, said the ban should cover the entire week.

The Thai Red Cross Society yesterday reported that it was running out of blood supplies.
The society needs 1,500 units of blood daily during the Songkran festival, but received only 973 units on April 12 and 950 units on April 13. Its blood bank distributes daily to hospitals nationwide.

Read the story here, with a link to the Bangkok Post's original article.


Anonymous said...

Sad that the death toll goes up so much. All it takes is some common sense, road awareness and the appropriate protection and you've got a much better chance of making it through the day.

Camille Lemmens said...

Hi Dave,

Guess these three things are lacking here!