Road accidents, casualties lower in Thailand on first day of New Year holidays

Road accidents, casualties lower in Thailand on first day of New Year holidays
Bangkok Bus Terminal (Chatuchak) is busy as thousands of people flock to catch a bus home in time for New Year celebrations with their families. Some passengers even sit on the floor yesterday while waiting for their turn.
PHOTO: The Nation/ANN

Road accidents and casualties were lower across the country on the first of the seven accident-monitoring days of the New Year period, while the highest proportion of crashes stemmed from drunk driving, followed by speeding. Chiang Mai had the most crashes at 17 and the highest number of injuries at 19 persons, while Mukdahan saw the most deaths at four persons.

The campaign's first day on Tuesday saw 439 road accidents killing 39 people and injuring 456 others, Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith told a press conference at the Road Safety Centre yesterday.

The figures were lower than for the previous New Year period's first day, which reported 59 deaths and 516 injuries in 508 road accidents.

Most accidents involved motorcycles at 89.22 per cent, and nearly two-thirds (65.24 per cent) took place on a straight section of road.

More than a third of crashes occurred on highways, at 36.89 per cent, with village roads accounting for 30.39 per cent. The most accident-prone time (35.99 per cent) was 4pm to 8pm. About half of casualties were persons of working age, the minister said.

The 2,165 checkpoints nationwide, manned by 64,432 officials, stopped 506,623 vehicles and arrested 77,273 traffic-law violators.

Most offences were failing to show a driver's licence at 23,305 cases, and failing to wear a helmet at 22,096 cases.

Many transport hubs in Bangkok, including the Mor Chit Bus Terminal and Don Mueang Airport, yesterday saw many travellers passing through, while highways leading to the North and the Northeast also carried increased traffic volumes.

In Bangkok, Pol Maj-General Adul Narongsak, Metropolitan Police Bureau deputy traffic commissioner, said 11 places would host countdown parties and 70 other sites would organise cross-year prayers, including Sanam Luang.

Many celebrants were expected to show up at three key venues, namely CentralWorld Plaza, Asiatique The Riverfront and Nagaraphirom Park, Adul said.

The section of Rama I Road from the Chalermphao intersection to Chidlom intersection and Rajadamri Road from the Rajadamri intersection to the Pratunam intersection near CentralWorld Plaza will be closed from 6am today until 6am New Year's Day.

For Asiatique, traffic will be one-way on Charoen Krung Road - from the Thanon Tok intersection to the Thanon Chan intersection from 5pm today until 3am tomorrow.

For Nagaraphirom Park, traffic will be one-way on Maharat Road from the Thai Wang intersection to Tha Chang Pier from 5pm today to 2am tomorrow.

Affirming that police will provide security at the celebration sites, Adul said the bureau also had nine area commands to set up 16 public service points, including Mor Chit Bus Terminal, as well as setting up 101 alcohol checkpoints across the city.

Arkhom said the biggest cause of accidents was drunk driving at 26.94 per cent, followed by speeding at 19.56 per cent.

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