33 die on first day, police warn of danger spots

A total of 33 people were killed and 322 injured in road accidents across Thailand on Dec 27, the first day of the so-called "Seven Dangerous Days", Transport Minister Chatchart Suthipan said on Friday.

The "Seven Dangerous Days" road safety campaign during the New Year holiday runs from Dec 27 to Jan 2, 2013.

The province with the most fatalities on day one was Chiang Mai, with four deaths, followed by Bangkok, with three. Drunk driving was the main cause of accidents, Mr Chatchart said.

In Phuket province, an accident involving more than 20 vechicles occurred when the driver of a passenger bus carrying 22 Russian tourists lost control while going down a hill in Patong area on Thursday.

The bus crashed into 20 cars and five motorcycles. There was no report of serious injuries.

Prawes Wongthai, the 51-year-old bus driver, told police that he was taking the tourists to dinner. While going down the hill the brakes failed so he swerved into the opposite lane and crashed into oncoming traffic in an attempt to slow down the bus. 

All tourists on board were safe but some motorcyclists sustained minor injuries as they were jumping out of the way.

Mr Prawes has been detained and charged with negligent driving.

Traffic along Mittraphap highway (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)

Meanwhile, Highway police warned motorists of seven most dangerous spots on highways, where road accidents occur most frequently.

Motorists, heading to their hometown to celebrate the New Year festival, were advised to drive extra carefully when travelling along these dangerous stretches:

1) Kilometre markers No 77-78 on the Phahon Yothin highway at tambon Sanabtube in Ayutthaya's Wang Noi district, which is a long sharp curve.

2) Kilometre markers No 27-30 on the Mittraphap highway at tambon Muak Lek in Saraburi's Muak Lek district. This particular point is downhill with several sharp curves.

3) In front of the fish market at kilometre markers No 28-35 on the inbound Rama 2 highway in Samut Sakhon's Muang district. The route there is very slippery because of mucilage dropping from fish trucks.

4) Kilometre markers No 42-48 on highway No 304 (Kabin Buri-Pakthongchai) at Nadee district of Prachin Buri. This part of the road is uneven with several sharp S-curves.

5) Kilometre markers No 76-79 on highway No 348 (Aranyaprathet-Non Din Daeng) in tambon Thapraj of Sa Kaeo's Ta Phraya district, which is up and downhill, also with S-curves.

6) Kilometre markers No 40-41 on the outbound Mittraphap highway at tambon Klang Dong in Pak Chong district of Nakhon Ratchasima. There are many fruit and local products shops on the roadside on this part of the highway.

7) Kilometre markers No 35-38 on the inbound Mittraphap highway at tambon Klang Dong, which is a dangerous downhill route.

Related search: road accidents, New Year, dangerous highways

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